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Viola Davis Discusses Panic Attack on Today Show

Viola Davis Had a Terrible Panic Attack During Her First Red Carpet, and Meryl Streep Was Involved

Viola Davis has been attending award shows and posing for red carpet photos for as long as we can remember, but the actress just shared a story about her first red carpet appearance, and it sounds terrifying. During an interview with Willie Geist, Viola explained that she had brutal anxiety during that first-ever experience. "I remember my first red carpet, I had a panic attack. It's one or two panic attacks I've ever had in my entire life," she said. "I wouldn't even wish that upon my worst enemy. I don't have a lot of enemies, but I would not wish that upon anybody."

When Willie asked her what that experience was like, she said, "Besides shaking uncontrollably, you mean? Besides hyperventilating? Besides a very beautiful woman named Meryl Streep who told me the day before, 'Viola, listen, I can't be at that award show, but if I win, can you accept the award for me?' and I said, 'Oh my god. Yes! Yes, I'll do that.' And then I got there, I was, like, 'What did I just promise?' That led to the panic attack along with the red carpet."

Anyone who has ever had a panic attack knows how debilitating and uncontrollable they can be. The rapid heart rate and hyperventilation can come out of nowhere, but for Viola, this was in response to her first red carpet and Meryl's large request, which is totally understandable. Watch a clip from Viola's Today interview above, which airs on May 5.

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