Actress Emma Stone may have risen to fame playing spunky and gregarious characters like the feisty aspiring journalist in "The Help" or the freshman lawyer who makes a womanizer change his ways in "Crazy, Stupid, Love.," but, in the July issue of Vogue, she reveals she turned reclusive as a kid thanks to panic attacks, the first of which she suffered at the age of eight. "I was just kind of immobilized by it," she tells the magazine. "I didn't want to go to my friends' houses or hang out with anybody, and nobody really understood."
Her parents put her in therapy, but Stone, who grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, eventually found something else that helped — acting. At 11 she started getting involved in improv comedy … and the experience changed her life forever. "It gave me a sense of purpose. I wanted to make people laugh," she explains. "Comedy was my sport. It taught me how to roll with the punches. Failure is the exact same as success when it comes to comedy because it just keeps coming. It never stops."Mario Testino/Vogue
The panic attacks haven't stopped either, still creeping up now and then, even during her now-famous scene in "Crazy, Stupid, Love," where Ryan Gosling lifts her up high above his head ballroom-style a la "Dirty Dancing," she admits. To avoid the attacks while shooting "Spider-Man," she took an unusual approach — baking. "I think I felt really out of control of my surroundings. I was just baking all the time. There were stacks of things in the kitchen that nobody could possibly go through," Stone, 23, explains. "It seemed like it made me feel, if I put these in, I'll know what the outcome is … I was overbaking."Mario Testino/Vogue
A couple of years after beginning improv in her native Arizona, Stone convinced her parents (with a PowerPoint presentation, no less) to let her go to Los Angeles to follow her dream of acting. In 2004, she and her mother made the move to Tinseltown, where Stone began auditioning while being homeschooled, landing some TV parts, and eventually her first major film — Judd Apatow's "Superbad" opposite Jonah Hill and Michael Cera in 2007. A slew of other flicks followed and this summer she stars in what could be her biggest movie yet: "The Amazing Spider-Man," in which she plays the superhero's love interest … on screen and off. Though she wouldn't address her relationship with co-star and now-boyfriend Andrew Garfield in the interview, she did shower him with accolades … for his acting, of course. "As an actor, I learned a lot from working with Andrew, in terms of his approach and the way he works," she says of "The Social Network" star, 28. "He's incredibly giving."
Together, Stone and Garfield have become a hot Hollywood couple, trailed by paparazzi and front and center at big showbiz bashes like the recent Tony Awards. But the fame part of it all is still something Stone is getting used to.
"The concept of movie star is something that you can never wrap your head around," she says. "Not being a cog in a machine, there being guys in New York with cameras — it feels like it's happening to a different person," she confesses. "That loss of anonymity, not being able to just sit and watch in certain circumstances being able to just sit and watch in certain circumstances, is very strange and very new."