Emily Blunt just shared a poignant message about the impact of living with a stutter

Emily Blunt just shared a poignant message about the impact of living with a speech impediment and how pursuing a career in acting helped her overcome its debilitating hold. 

We all know Emily Blunt as an actor who can command the screen with a single icy look, a sharp-tongued line or a pitch-perfect song. Undoubtedly one of the UK’s finest actors, she radiates confidence every time she appears on screen – but it’s not widely known, however, that she was plagued in her early life by a debilitating stutter.

A passionate advocate for raising awareness of the speech impediment, which is characterised by repetition of sounds, syllables, or words, Blunt has previously spoken about how she was encouraged aged 12-13 by a sympathetic teacher to audition for the school play after noticing she didn’t stutter with playful impersonations. It marked a turning point in her journey, and she grew in confidence as she honed her ability to assume the voice of others.

Now a dedicated board member for the American Institute for Stuttering, Blunt has opened up further about her journey with stuttering in a bid to shine a light on the disability,

Speaking to People at the AIS’s 2022 Freeing Voices Changing Lives Gala on 12 July, the five-time Golden Globe nominee described how “important” it was for her to keep “speaking openly about” having a stutter, “a disability people don’t know much about.”

During the gala, Blunt explained how she she discovered how acting could unlock the confidence to speak clearly and confidently. It was “a sort of invitation into speaking fluently for one of the first times,” she said, even though it didn’t necessarily “cure” her stutter.

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“If you can’t express yourself, you can’t be yourself.”

“I wouldn’t say that’s why I’ve ventured into acting, but it was just a bit shocking the first time I was able to speak, you know, doing a silly voice or an accent pretending to be someone else,” Blunt continued. 

“People don’t talk about [it] enough if it hasn’t got enough exposure, and millions of people around the world struggle with it.”

Blunt went on to describe the sheer frustration of not being able to express yourself.

“I think it’s a very moving force,” she added. “If you can’t express yourself, you can’t be yourself. And there’s something very poignant in freeing people of the grip of a speech impediment, because it’s like a sort of imposter that lives in your body.”

Emily Blunt struggled in her early life with a debilitating stutter

The actor, whose grandfather, uncle and cousin all had a stutter, also took the opportunity to address the lack of empathy and understanding around the disorder.

“It’s biological and it’s often hereditary and it’s not your fault,” Blunt continued. “And I think it’s very often a disability that people bully and make fun of. So I think, to raise awareness about what it’s really about, and that there’s this soft place for you to land in this amazing organisation. It’s a big deal for me to be here.”

Blunt, who is now one of Hollywood’s most illustrious stars, previously told People that of all the causes that she now campaigns for, her work with the stuttering community is “the one that pierces my heart probably most profoundly because of my own personal experience with it.”

As for her stutter, Blunt no longer allows it to define to her life or work. In fact, she’s embraced it as something that makes it her unique authentic self.

“You’ve got to fall in love with the fact that you’ve got a stutter to accept it,” she added. “But it’s not all of you. Everyone’s got something — and this is just your thing.”

Images: Getty

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