Cardi B is opening up about her struggle with mental health and suicidal thoughts. On Thursday, the Grammy-winning artist testified in a court hearing over allegations that YouTuber Latasha Kebe, who goes by Tasha K, made false claims about Cardi to her followers on social media and the video sharing platform, where she has 1 million followers. In a lawsuit filed in 2019, Cardi’s legal team cited YouTube videos and social media posts, in which Kebe allegedly made false claims as part of a “malicious campaign” to hurt Cardi’s reputation, according to Billboard.
The claims got extremely personal. According to the lawsuit, the claims made by Kebe included allegations that Cardi had exchanged sex for money, used drugs, cheated on her husband, had herpes and HPV, and that her first pregnancy might result in a child born with special needs, per Rolling Stone. The lawsuit over the alleged defamation has since gotten even more personal, with an L.A. hospital recently ordered to turn over medical records showing the results of STI tests performed on Cardi B, per Billboard, (which ultimately proved “not helpful” to Kebe’s case).
On the stand this week, Cardi got real about the toll the whole ordeal has taken on her. “I felt extremely suicidal,” the mother-of-two said, as Billboard reported. She described feeling “helpless” and experiencing anxiety, depression, weight loss, and migraines. “I felt defeated and depressed and I didn’t want to sleep with my husband,” she said, per TMZ.
The claim that the artist has herpes—which she flatly denied on the stand—was particularly harmful to her mental health, she said. In her testimony, Cardi shared one instance in which she posted a photo on social media showing her kissing her daughter Kulture on the lips, Billboard reported. In the comments, people reportedly asked whether that was appropriate in light of the herpes rumor. During that period, the artist said she felt like “I didn’t deserve my kid,” per TMZ.
While there’s a lot of unfair stigma around conditions like herpes and HPV, and around various kinds of sex work, it’s hard to blame Cardi for being distraught about someone discussing her health and family in this way.
In February 2019, Cardi shared her struggle with social media after her daughter Kulture was born in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. “Sometimes I’ll see something online and it’ll piss me off, and then my baby will start crying or something, and it’s like, ‘You know what? I’ve got to deal with the milk. Forget this,'” she said. “I’m just over [social media]. I really don’t need it, and sometimes it just brings chaos to my brain.”
In her testimony this week, Card shared that the claims made by Kebe eventually prompted her to see a therapist. The trial is ongoing.
If you’re thinking about hurting yourself or just need someone to talk to right now, you can get support by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or by texting HOME to 741-741, the Crisis Text Line. And here is a list of international suicide helplines if you’re outside the United States.