The Crash star, who was married to Reese Witherspoon from 1999 to 2007, has been open about his battle with the blues in recent years, revealing he went through a series of tough times during his 20s and 30s as he tried to balance his career and personal life in the spotlight.

He gradually learned how to deal with his emotional pain by reading self-help books and picking up techniques to help him "breathe", and now the father-of-three tells People magazine, "I'm a lot more at peace than I was when I was younger."

The 42-year-old reveals he developed a "pretty thick skin" after having to deal with the intense media scrutiny during his relationship with Reese, and now he pays no attention to the tabloid rumours which previously would have got him down.

"I've faced every manner of gossip, and I don't take myself as seriously now," he explains. "There is a freedom and a release that comes with maturity. I've made peace with it. We live in a time where being a private person isn't really an option anymore. If you want to be relevant, you have to be connected."

And working through his past troubles has helped Ryan let go of the darkness which once threatened his happiness.

"(I'm) not nearly as dark a person as I used to be or as at the mercy of my emotions," he shares. "There is a sensitivity that will never change and an empathy that will never change, but how you deal with those feelings and where you let them take you, that's an individualistic journey for anyone who struggles."

Ryan has also found solace in sharing his own troubled experiences in the hope it will offer help to others battling similar issues.

He says, "I am happy. It hasn't always been like that, so I'm hoping to keep it going. And I think from there too, giving back and sharing whatever I can (is important).

"When you go through dark periods in life or if you're a person who has struggled with depression as I have throughout my life, to know that that can decrease and that it doesn't have to be your defining characteristic, that you can find ways to manage and cope and feel better - that's what I'm referring too."