Mia McNiece and Jess Cagle
May 11, 2017 02:46 PM

At home with Goldie! Goldie Hawn opens up about motherhood, her 34-year romance with Kurt Russell, and her hilarious return to the big screen in Snatched. Subscribe now for a look inside her extraordinary life — only in PEOPLE.

She’s been a superstar for nearly five decades, but Goldie Hawn, 71, says her early years in the acting world were a stressful time.

“When I started working, I was really having anxiety, and I went to take care of it, seek counsel,” Hawn tells PEOPLE Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle in the magazine’s new cover story.

After landing a role on Laugh-In in 1968, Hawn became a huge star. The next year she went on to star in the film Cactus Flower and won an Oscar. But despite her success, the actress says she still remembers the early criticism she received and admits it took a toll on her.

“I remember [movie critic] Arthur Knight gave me the worst [review], and I’ve never forgotten it: ‘Her performance was as flat as her chest.’ It was so mean, and getting over some of these things when you have a kindness in your heart is a really hard thing to cope with.”

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In fact, things got so bad that there was a point when the sweet and bubbly star was close to a nervous breakdown.”I really didn’t want to go outside, I really lost my smile, I didn’t feel joyful, I was scared,” says Hawn. “They were like panic attacks. Your heart would race.”

Inset: Steve Granitz/WireImage

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Hawn says her work with her MindUP, the mindfulness program she began in 2003 that helps school kids learn how the brain works, has actually helped her understand what she was going through at that time.

“Now that I’ve been working with children and I know about the brain quite a bit, that’s a rough time for kids. The ages between 19 and 24 are sometimes very precarious times for he brain. It’s a vulnerable time.”

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