Sia opens up about mental health struggles after backlash from her controversial film

Sia has opened up about her mental health and going to rehab following the backlash over her film Music.

The 46-year-old singer - who has complex PTSD - has revealed she relapsed following the controversy surrounding her casting Maddie Ziegler in the titular role of an autistic teenager, instead of someone neuroatypical, in her 2021 directional debut.

In a New York Times profile about her close friend, comedy legend Kathy Griffin, 61, the Unstoppable hitmaker said: "I was suicidal and relapsed and went to rehab.

"She saved my life."

The Chandelier hitmaker initially cast an actor with autism but the role proved too stressful for her so she brought her frequent collaborator into the project instead.

She said previously "I got Maddie back on board. I’ve learnt I’m ableist.

"And while I may have spoken to 20 factions of the autism community, I didn’t speak to another 20 factions. I actually didn’t even know the other 20 existed."

Sia has defended her decision to cast Maddie in the film on multiple occasions and previously insisted it was more "compassionate" to hire her than an autistic actress.

She tweeted: "I did try. It felt more compassionate to use Maddie. That was my call...

"I cast thirteen neuroatypical people, three trans folk, and not as f****** prostitutes or drug addicts but s as doctors, nurses and singers. F****** sad nobody’s even seen the dang movie. My heart has always been in the right place.(sic)"

And Sia also insisted she simply couldn't work without Maddie.

She said: "I realised it wasn’t ableism.

"I mean, it is ableism I guess as well, but it’s actually nepotism because I can’t do a project without her. I don’t want to. I wouldn’t make art if it didn’t include her."

Maddie - who has starred in many of Sia's music videos, including the promos for Elastic Heart and Chandelier - feared people would think she was "making fun" of autistic people.

Sia insisted: "I bold-facedly said, 'I won’t let that happen.'"

However, she realised she cannot "protect" her from the criticism.

She added: "Last week, I realised I couldn’t really protect her from that, which I thought I could. We sent it off to the Child Mind Institute and she received 100 per cent as performance accuracy. I realise that there are some things I can’t protect her from as much as I try."

Where to get help:

• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)

• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)

• Youthline: 0800 376 633 or text 234 (available 24/7)

• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)

• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (12pm to 11pm)

• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 or text 4202 (available 24/7)

• Anxiety helpline: 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY) (available 24/7)

• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

- Bang! Showbiz