Maia Campbell appeared on a special episode of Iyanla Vanzant’s “Iyanla Fix My Life” franchise called “Iyanla, Fix My Fallen Star.” The airing was anticipated highly as viewers were eager to see what had become of the actress. Campbell was first introduced to the public on the popular 90s sitcom, “In The House” before her reputation was tarnished with rumors of prostitution and drug abuse.

On the hour-long show, Vanzant delved into the actress’ past including her relationship with her late mother, New York Times best-selling author Bebe Moore Campbell, and her inability to play an active role in raising her own daughter.

The episode was powerful but many viewers took issue with Vanzant’s approach because of Campbell’s bipolar disorder. Elle of Five East Tumblr writes in an open letter to Iyanla Vanzant:

[Maia] is diagnosed bipolar and is living in a facility that helps her manage her life. Bi-polar is not just a PART of the problem. Bi-polar is the axis on which her life rotates. All of her issues stem from her mental illness. A mental illness that you have no experience in dealing with or treating. What you did to that woman was irresponsible and DANGEROUS. [...] Thank GOD she was medicated because showing her those pictures of herself was enough to trigger a manic or depressive episode. I know because I’ve had manic and depressive episodes. And unlike you, I know enough to know you don’t f*** with the stability of a person just cuz you can.

It’s true that when a subject struggles with mental health, one should be experienced and qualified before aiming to treat or “fix” his/her issues. It’s debatable whether Iyanla’s approach did more harm than good.

What’s your opinion, Clutchettes? Did Iyanla take things to far in her episode with Maia Campbell?



  1. chinaza

    The concepts of acceptance vs.denial, shame or tough love have limited application in the patient with bipolar disorder (or schizophrenia, by the way ).For the very reason that their reality is fluctuant and unpredictable and they typically lack insight at different stages,
    Bipolar is a very serious, biochemical disorder and it’s dangerous and disruptive for anyone- outside of her mental health team- to attempt any therapeutic intervention with Maia.
    The diagnosis alone is often difficult and many patients have co-morbid conditions which also require treatment.
    So, with the best of intentions, Iyanla is in deep waters and it’s no reflection on her competence otherwise.

  2. Donna Love

    I want to see Ms. Campbell back on tv, well and health. For years I wondered what happened to her. Gods’ blessing to her and her daughter.

  3. charlene

    ms vanzant seems to have had her share of problems due to decisions she has made. it was hard to watch her beg oprah to accept her back.sometimes women in her position seem very hard, mean spirited even when they call themselves “helpng” others. when she smiles, {guess that’s what it is] she looks like a predator about to pounce. oprah and iyanla really need a good long look at themselves. rich, powerful,but their hearts aren’t always in the best place

  4. Black

    I see a lot of people saying that Iyanla’s approach was acceptable because she was attempting to make Maia recognize her own accountability for her actions… but what is accountability? We hold people accountable when there is nothing hindering their ability to make clear rational choices. In Maia’s case there is a major hindrance, and we all know that it is her diagnosis of bipolar disorder. It is no different than being reprimanded as a child, and your mother asking you “are you crazy?,” (PLEASE NOTE I am not implying that Maia is crazy) or “have you lost your mind”, “did you bump your head?” Of course these are rhetorical questions, but the reason they work so well is because if the answer to any of those questions had been “yes,” then you would then be relieved of your accountability. To me, it does not matter what she has done:drugs, prostitution, stealing, or whatever, she in my eyes should not be held fully accountable for her actions.

    Let me add that I do have a degree in psychology, and I took it very seriously. I do not believe that you people understand what goes on not just in her mind, but in her entire body. There is a major physiological contribution to her mental disorder, my expectations for Maia and any other person with this disorder are NOT equal to those that I have for a person who does not suffer from a mental disorder- Period!

    Needless to say at this point I’m sure; I found Iyanla’s approach very inappropriate. All of that “Healing souls” mumbo jumbo is ridiculous! Jesus is the only person that can heal and/or save my soul- not sure about anybody elses. She can pray for that girls soul but that is it!

    I did read ’72 hour hold’ the fictional novel her mother wrote based off of her own experiences some years ago, and maybe some of you should too. The insensitivity to her mental disorder is alarming.

    P.S. I’m really starting to believe that ‘I got sense!’ is Iyanla!

    • The percentage may vary depending on the source but 74% of the world is not Christian. Have you looked at the list of famous people who have been diagnosed with Bipolar. It is a who’s who of some of our greatest and most inspirational figures in the arts and sciences. You can have higher expectations for bipolar people than other people if you go by that. Maia is capable of being as great as anyone with understanding, encouragement and love. Roughly 1/3 of people in the world will have a “mental issue” at one point in their lives. In the USA it is roughly 46% of people have a mental disorder or issue. In any crowd look to your left, to your right, behind you and in front of you and you will see the face of mental illness. This is part of humanity and life and we need to reach out to each other for a greater understanding of how we can all lift each other up to our highest good. We are in this together. We all make up our communities and our society. If you ask me that is what Jesus or any other spiritual leader would encourage us to do. Find ways of working with each other out of love. Iyanla showed her some love.

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