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Last Updated: Friday, 11 March, 2005, 12:20 GMT
Sopranos star in depression fight
Lorraine Bracco
Bracco plays Dr Jennifer Melfi in The Sopranos
The Sopranos actress Lorraine Bracco has teamed up with a US drug manufacturer in an advertising campaign to raise awareness of mental illness.

Bracco, who plays psychiatrist Dr Jennifer Melfi on the US TV show, wants to highlight the issue following her own battle against clinical depression.

"If you break your leg, you have it fixed," she said. If you have a toothache, you go to the dentist."

"When it comes to mental health, people think they can just get over it."

Custody battle

Bracco will appear in a series of commercials for the drug company Pfizer, and is also involved in a website highlighting the campaign.

The actress said she battled against depression for over a decade, and only sought help in 1997 after she was cast in The Sopranos.

Bracco, who has two children, also found herself battling for custody of her daughter Stella with her ex-husband, actor Harvey Keitel. In the mid-90s she also declared bankruptcy after the end of her relationship with actor Edward James Olmos.

"I just had a lot of really big things that kept pounding me and I would let all these things rule my life instead of my dreams and wishes," Bracco said.

"I was doing everything. The laundry was done. The children had food. They were driven to school and extracurricular activities, but I was joyless in it. It just became a chore for me."

The 50-year-old actress, who was nominated for an Oscar in 1990 for her role in Goodfellas, begins filming the sixth series of The Sopranos this spring.

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