Pop star Vanessa Carlton fell into a spiral of depression as a teenager - after a growth spurt but a halt to her future as a ballet dancer.

The singer was accepted by New York's SCHOOL OF AMERICAN BALLET (SAB) when she was 14 and she quickly became one of the most talented pupils - until she started growing.

She recalls, "During my junior year I had a growth spurt. I shot up four inches and it was too much for the teachers to handle... they couldn't help me train my new body.

"I went from being a favourite to blending in. I had always relied on my teachers' praise. Without it, I felt worthless... I sunk into a deep depression and stopped going to class."

Carlton admits her depression helped turn her into a great songwriter but her mental condition started creating bigger problems as her music career took off.

She adds, "Life got bad once I signed that contract... it brought on changes I wasn't ready to handle. My life was on display. I became obsessed with my diet and with working out.

"I convinced myself I was just following a regimen, but when I threw up for the first time, I got scared. So I went on anti-depressants."

Carlton no longer takes medication to help her cope with life, but she admits she's "not afraid that I may need it again."

20/01/2004 01:48