Paulina Porizkova Talks Difficult Childhood, Anxiety, and Panic Attacks in New Memoir

Paulina Porizkova has enjoyed an incredibly successful career in modeling, but her life has been far from perfect. From her difficult childhood to her crippling anxiety, panic disorder diagnosis, and losing the love of her life, Porizkova has had a lot to overcome – and she talks all about it in her newest memoir. 

No Filter: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful was published on November 15th and is Porizkova’s first nonfiction book. She previously released a fiction book titled A Model Summer in 2007 and sometimes writes blogs for The Huffington Post and Modelinia. Her new memoir gives a detailed look at her life. 

It all started when she was three years old, being separated from her parents during the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. She was reunited with her parents five years later and moved to Sweden to live with them, but was leaving her grandmother behind – whom she adored and longed for.

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Not long after starting a new life in Sweden, her parents decided to divorce. The anxiety of that combined with missing her grandmother resulted in panic attacks at just 10 years old. “The air had suddenly become too thick for me to breathe. It was like trying to suck in oxygen through a straw,” she wrote.

More than a decade later, Porizkova was diagnosed with panic disorder and it only worsened as she grew older. “There were times in my life where it would actively prevent me from living, from experiencing things, because I was so bogged down with anxiety that I didn’t dare leave the house,” she added.

In an effort to help curb her anxiety and prevent those haunting panic attacks, Porizkova started taking medication. While it did help give her a sense of life without anxiety and showed her a world she wasn’t quite accustomed to, the medication also numbed her. She eventually decided to ‘white knuckle it.’

Instead, she’s looking at life through different lenses. When something goes wrong, she stays calm. “By nature, I’m a very happy person because I’m full of gratitude for all the lovely moments. When a lovely moment happens, I embrace it because I understand the value of it – I know how precious it is,” she said.

Paulina Porizkova Has Yet to Accept Her Fallout With Late Ex-Husband

paulina porizkova talks difficult childhood, anxiety, and panic attacks in new memoir
Miro Vrlik Photography / Shutterstock

At 15 years old, Paulina Porizkova moved to Paris with a dream of being a top model in the industry. She found herself in the Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition in 1989 and was also featured in a music video for Drive by The Cars – all at just 18 years old. That’s also when she met her future husband, Ric Ocasek

Ocasek was the lead singer for The Cars. The couple was together for five years before finally getting married in 1989. They had two sons together – Jonathan Raven Ocasek in 1993 and Oliver Ocasek in 1999. While they were together for 35 years, they eventually decided to call it quits back in 2018. 

Nearly a year later, Ocasek unexpectedly passed away after undergoing surgery for cancer. Paulina Porizkova was devastated by the news as more than three decades of loving memories clouded her ability to live a happy and healthy life. “The world around me ceased to exist as I knew it,” she wrote. 

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Things grew worse when she learned he cut her out of his will, leaving her financially unstable. “(It was) these physical losses that accompanied the emotional loss of him being gone. And then betrayal trauma was that the person I loved, wanted me to be in that situation. Like, that was his intention,” she added.

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