MasterChef's Melissa Leong opens up about her struggles with depression

Sarah Carty
Features & Style Editor

She’s won over the hearts of MasterChef fans all over Australia with her warmth and knowledge while judging food in the reality show kitchen. 

Now, Melissa Leong has revealed her struggles with clinical depression, opening up about suffering a  breakdown in the 20’s and the tools she’s used to cope. 

Melissa Leong has opened up about her personal struggles with depression. Photo: Instagram/Melissa Leong

The 38-year-old told The Australian that cognitive therapy has helped as well as learning over the years to not ‘overload’ her plate.

“For me, a big part of anxiety and depression was not knowing how to say ‘no’ and wanting to please too many people. … part of this process is learning to draw the line and slow down,” she said. 

“Mental health is not a novelty; it’s part of who we are and we need to treat it as if it were a broken arm or any other kind of medical consideration.”

Melissa said if she needed some time away from filming she would find somewhere quiet and take a break. Photo: Channel 10

The food critic has previously opened up about her mental health battle, telling the Herald Sun that she doesn’t try to hide the fact that she had a breakdown but she “doesn’t advertise that either”.

She said during filming for MasterChef, she would sometimes find a quiet space where she could be alone.

“If I need a day like that where I just need that little bubble of time, it could be 10 minutes, I will tell them and they will find the next available opportunity for me to just have a minute. It doesn’t take long, it could just be five minutes, just to kind of be quiet and then you gather yourself and keep going.”

Melissa has gained a legion of fans ever since taking up the role as the first ever female just on MasterChef. 

Melissa is the first ever female judge on MasterChef Australia. She's joined by Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen. Photo: Channel 10

“I am really loving this Series of MasterChef. I am absolutely loving the Judges. I am loving Melissa,” one fan wrote online, with another calling her a “breathe of fresh air”.

Melissa took over from former judges George Colomabris, Matt Preston and Gary Mehigan, alongside chefs Jock Zonfrillo and Andy Allen. 

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