I’ll say it: Prince Harry’s media run being interviewed by all our favorite celebrities is a little slice of heaven on earth. First, we had him rope climbing with James Corden. Then, we had him dropping hard truths with Oprah Winfrey. Now, he’s digging deep on everyone’s favorite bombshell podcast Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard, and you know that these two dads went for the brutally honest truth. Shepard being Shepard, he asked Harry immediately about those infamous naked photos taken in Las Vegas in 2012, in which the royal appeared to be playing a game of strip billiards. And Harry’s surprisingly thoughtful comments about what might have sparked that kind of behavior proved once again how committed he’s been to growing into a new man these recent years.
The photos were taken in the midst of Harry’s military tour, and he informs Shepard that it was actually just a few weeks before he was deployed to Afghanistan that same year (hence the rockin’ bod, which Shepard also points out).
“I’m really excited to meet you because, in full disclosure I’m the most ill-informed person on the royal family, at least in my circle,” Shepard says. “You’re the only one I ever knew and simply because you were in those awesome nude photos in Vegas. And I literally said to myself, ‘This guy’s a party!'”
Shepard has spoken at length about his lifelong struggle with addiction, and he’s the first person to know that a love for partying can often be a mask for more troubling feelings below. As a young prince, Harry was known for his love of partying — and he tells Shepard that he now knows he was in denial about a lot of the more distressing emotions he wasn’t dealing with at the time.
On Oprah, we're seeing Harry for the first time truly stripped of the protection of the royal institution. https://t.co/UTgYjtds2c
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Here’s how Harry describes the voices from his childhood who told him he needed help, which made him all the less interested in addressing the issue: “[It was] more like, ‘oh you need help’ as a case of not so much weakness but I don’t know how to deal with this, you’re unhinged or you’re not particularly well, go seek help.”
“Rule number one is, when you actually want or feel as though someone needs help, telling them to their face ‘you need help’ is probably the best way for them to go ‘uh, no I don’t!'” he continues. “Object, run away, delay, all these kind of things, or go and drink or take drugs or whatever.”
“Take your clothes off in Vegas,” Shepard adds.
“Maybe,” Harry agrees.
“Any single one of us, whoever we are, wherever we come from, we’re always trying to find some way to be able to mask the actual feeling,” he adds. “And be able to try and make us feel different to how we are actually feeling, perhaps from having a feeling, right? Because so many people are just numb to it. That was a huge part of the beginning of my life which was like I rejected it, I said there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m fine.”
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These days, Harry is more open than ever about the fact that he needs support with his mental health, and that he believes everyone else has a right to it too. His Apple TV show The Me You Can’t See with Oprah Winfrey, whose new book on trauma What Happened to You? just came out to rave reviews, premieres on May 21 and after today’s insight from the prince, we’re more eager than ever to hear what else he has to say.
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Watch: A Timeline of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Relationship