Hayley Williams Briefly Left Paramore in 2015 to Treat Depression

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Hayley Williams. Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CBS Radio Inc.

In a new Fader cover story that is as much a about living with mental illness as it is about being part of the tumultuous history of one of pop-rock’s most successful bands, Hayley Williams says she briefly left Paramore two years ago to treat depression. In 2015, between albums, Williams says her mental health took a turn for the worse. “For the first time in my life, there wasn’t a pinhole of light at the end of the tunnel. I thought,I just wish everything would stop,’” she says. “It wasn’t in the sense of, I’m going to take my life. It was just hopelessness. Like, What’s the point? I don’t think I understood how dangerous hopelessness is. Everything hurts.” It got to the point where Williams started seeing a therapist and took a break from Paramore after over a decade with the band. “I just was done,” she says. “I thought, ‘There’s gotta be something else that I’m good at in my life. Maybe it’s time for me to go find that.’”

Earlier this year, Williams and her bandmate Taylor York said they’d both seriously considered quitting Paramore, or starting from scratch under another name. But Williams now says York continuously sending her demos for songs that would eventually end up on their new album during her time off brought her back to making music with Paramore. She credits After Laughter with “keeping [her] alive.”

Hayley Williams Left Paramore in 2015 to Treat Depression