Lacey Chabert Says She’s Been Experiencing ‘Terrible Anxiety’

Lacey Chabert

Heavy/Getty Hallmark actress Lacey Chabert

Notoriously upbeat actress Lacey Chabert, who has starred in 31 Hallmark movies and has more in the works, is opening up about how difficult the last two years have actually been for her personally, admitting that she’s been “filled with fear and terrible anxiety” at times.

On April 17, 2023, the actress had a vulnerable conversation with her longtime friend Lawrence Zarian on his You Are Beautiful podcast, sharing that the blend of upheaval in the world and her own family tragedy — the sudden death of her sister Wendy just before Thanksgiving 2021 — has taken a toll on her emotionally. But, Chabert said, she’s learning to find “beauty” even on the hardest days.

Lacey Chabert Didn’t Expect the ‘Many Different Layers’ of Grief

Zarian, a lifestyle expert who used to appear on Hallmark Channel’s “Home & Family,” began his interview with Chabert by gushing over what a powerful and positive force her movies and the network are for so many viewers, especially during the last two years of great uncertainty in the world, including the COVID pandemic.

Chabert, 40, said she’s grateful and honored to be able to be a beacon of light for others by playing relatable characters in stories that offer comfort and camaraderie. But she also revealed that, like her audience, sometimes she needs to be uplifted, too.

“I have faced a lot of challenges,” she told Zarin, adding, “We’ve had an incredibly blessed life, I don’t forget that for one second, (but) I’ve been filled with fear and terrible anxiety these past couple of years for all the different reasons.”

“And, you know, I faced a personal tragedy,” she continued, adding that her sister’s sudden death was from a heart attack.

According to the Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow funeral home, located in a suburb of Dallas, Wendy Chabert Riggio died on November 22, 2021, at age 46. The next day, Chabert shared the news in an emotional update on Instagram that featured Riggio’s 1994 senior photo from high school.

In the year and a half since, Chabert told Zarian, she’s learned a great deal about grief.

“It’s been the hardest thing to mourn, to watch my parents grieving their daughter, to watch my nephews grieving the loss of their beautiful mom, for me and my siblings to, you know, have lost their sister. You grieve on so many different levels and that’s something I never expected or understood.”

In December 2022, Chabert said on the Biscuits & Jam podcast, “Grief is a real journey. There’s been days where it’s unbearable, and then there’s days where you’re okay, and it takes you by surprise sometimes.”

Lacey Chabert Says She’s Learning to Find Beauty in the Midst of Tragedy

Lacey Chabert and Will Kemp

HallmarkLacey Chabert and Will Kemp in “Christmas Waltz”

On the You Are Beautiful podcast, Zarian asked Chabert whether she’s been able to find beauty in the midst of her challenges.

“I have realized that there is beauty in everything,” she responded. “Even in tragedy, there is beauty.”

When things feel too hard for her to notice beauty in the moment, Chabert said she has to “find the willpower just to keep going until it shows up” and added that leaning on her faith, family and friends helps her through the darker days.

“God is good and he always shows up in my life and always provides comfort and peace,” she told Zarian. “And to be surrounded by good friends and realize the support that I get from my group of friends and, you know, my family members, it’s just invaluable. I think these last years have taught me to slow down and just to appreciate what is good and to always find it.”

Before her sister’s death, Chabert was already struggling with anxiety brought on by lockdowns and uncertainty during the COVID pandemic. In an essay about it for Guideposts, she wrote that one way she’d found to ease her fears and anxiety was to tap into the passions she’s possessed since she was young, even before her career as a child actor began.

She wrote, “All I knew was, I loved to sing and dance and make people smile. It was just something in me, I guess.”

On the Biscuits & Jam podcast, Chabert said her sister also had a gift for bringing joy to others, so she’s found renewed purpose in doing the same through her movies, trying to “spread joy” like her sister did.

“I think of that as my purpose in life now, to spread joy to everyone around me,” she said. “I hope that I spread that joy with my job and my movies and anything that I create.”

Chabert’s next Hallmark film is a reunion with Will Kemp in “The Dancing Detective: A Deadly Tango,” set to premiere on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries on June 2.

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