“Once a stutterer, I feel, always a stutterer,” Emily Blunt tells Marie Claire magazine about her years growing up with a speech impediment that prevented her from reading poems aloud or even saying her name as a kid.
The actress is opening up about her speech challenge, saying her stutter “started to take hold around six or seven,” then got progressively worse as she got older.
“It wasn’t the whole part of me; it was just a part of who I was,” Blunt tells the magazine. “There were certain people who liked to define me by that. That was tough. I decided not to really spend time with those people. I’ve probably only now come to realize that everybody has something growing up. That just happened to be my thing.”
It was acting in grade school that helped her even out her stutter and discover her voice. “And that was very liberating for me as a kid. Suddenly, I had fluency,” she said.
Blunt is now very involved with the American Institute for Stuttering (AIS), and says she wants to help explain why stuttering happens.
“Stutterers don’t feel understood. It’s not psychological. It’s not that you’re nervous, it’s not that you’re insecure, it’s not that you can’t read, it’s not that you don’t know what you want to say. It’s neurological, it’s genetic, it’s biological. It’s not your fault,” she says.
She also wants to educate people to prevent bullying over the way some people speak.
“I encourage empathy in my kids and embracing differences and not being scared of them, or teasing people for them, you know?” Blunt explained. “Making mistakes or feeling like you have something that causes you to make mistakes, is a good thing. It’s how you learn and it’s how you grow. When you go through something like that, you establish a real sense of kindness. And you’ve got to be kind to yourself and you’re going to be kind to other people.”