Ashley Tisdale has come a long way since her High School Musical days.
The actress and mental health advocate, 37, got brutally honest about the nuances of motherhood since giving birth to 1-year-old daughter Jupiter — including how it's changed the relationship with her husband Christopher French, whom she married in 2014.
"I mean, it’s a rollercoaster of a ride. No one prepares you for it," Tisdale said on the Not Skinny But Not Fat. "I love how none of my friends who had kids told me about this. It’s like a secret."
"Everyone prepares you for the baby and no one prepares you for what your relationship is gonna go through, and so, it’s just wild," she continued. "But Chris is like the most patient man. We never really fought [before having Jupiter], and so, we do fight now because it’s like you have a third little person and … you have your way, they have their way, and you’re trying to like, you know, come together as a team. So it definitely changes things."
Having a child also forced her to evolve as a person in ways she didn't expect.
"I didn't even know who I was at that point. I was like, I know I’m not who I used to be because I have this little baby now," she said, noting that experience made her feel "like a shell of a person."
"It’s almost like you can never go back to who you once were, which is amazing, and different, but it’s like, trying to get comfortable with that — and your body — again," she added.
Tisdale, who's been open living with anxiety, explained that she suffered through "a little bit of postpartum stuff" after giving birth, which inspired her to launch the wellness skincare line, Frenshe, this summer.
"I had been through a really stressful time a couple years ago and I was like, seeing all these different doctors thinking I had something wrong with me and they were like, 'No, this is anxiety,' and I’m like, 'No no, I need a brain scan, I need everything, it’s gotta be something.' And they’re like, it’s anxiety," she explained. "As I met with every single one, they really showed me [that] living a cleaner lifestyle can be like more beneficial for your mental health, for everything."
Those are lessons she's learned since launching to fame in the mid-2000s after starring in the Disney Channel's High School Musical as Sharpay, a sharp-tongued teenager with a mild mean streak.
To this day, Tisdale says fans assume she's like the character she played.
"I’m a pretty shy person and I’m very socially awkward because I have anxiety," she said. "So, when people come to meet me there are times when I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what they’re expecting, but I think sometimes they’re expecting a little bit of Sharpay."
"When I see a [social media] comment that’s like, 'Oh, I heard she’s not really nice,' I’m like, that’s my character, like, you guys, that’s a narrative of a character. It's like what?" she said. "I feel like I’m always pretty nice to everybody but I just am a shy person."
The singer has spoken about the nuances of dealing with anxiety as a new mom in the past, telling Yahoo Life last year that "you have to love yourself to take the steps to feel better."
"Everyone struggles with something and to me, I’m always trying to tell people it’s good to be interested in yourself," she told Yahoo Life. "You may find out things you may not like — but you’ll find out a lot of things you’ll love. And you’ll learn how to manage the things you don't like!"
"I think as a mom, it’s important to still take those moments [of self-care]," she explained of her mindfulness practices. "After the baby goes to sleep, I’ll take a bath and put on my favorite show. You definitely have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others."
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