Emily Blunt has often discussed how she was a stutterer as a child, and in an interview with Howard Stern this week to promote Sicario, the actress explained that it’s still something she sometimes battles.
“When I’m on the phone, it comes back, because I think it’s that pressure to communicate only with your voice,” Blunt told Stern on his Sirius XM radio show. “Any time I feel under pressure, and actually when I was pregnant it came back really badly. My diaphragm was so constricted. There wasn’t any space in there. I think I need to be really relaxed and calm to speak freely.”
Blunt, who is part of the American Institute for Stuttering, said she first started stuttering as a young child. When she was 12, a teacher encouraged her to join the school’s plays as a way to gain confidence in her speaking voice. Blunt is one of a number of famous actors who had stutters as children, including Bruce Willis. The pair costarred in Looper together, and Blunt said they discussed stuttering on the production’s first day.
“I had written him a letter to try to get him to come and speak at this gala I do every year,” Blunt told Stern. “He said, ‘I’m too nervous because I’m nervous I’m going to stutter.’”
Stern asked Blunt if she felt Willis’ stuttering fears were part of the reason he’s often so closed off during interviews. “Yes, I do,” she said. “I think it’s partly him, because he’s very cool, and everyone else’s cool factor just diminishes when he walks in the room. He is innately quite shy as well. But I think stutters, I’m guilty of it too, you come up with ways to avoid it.”
At this year’s American Institute for Stuttering’s Freeing Voices Changing Lives Benefit Gala, singer Ed Sheeran was among those stars who spoke about their childhood stutters.