"My dad is very open about going to therapy and erasing the stigma," Howie Mandel's daughter Jackie Shultz tells PEOPLE

By Aili Nahas
June 09, 2021 03:19 PM
Advertisement

When it comes to his mental health struggles, America's Got Talent judge Howie Mandel has a lot in common with his daughter Jackie Shultz.

Mandel, 65, and Shultz, 36, both suffer from anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder, afflictions the TV personality has dealt with nearly his whole life.

"I'm not proud of that gift I've given her," Mandel - whose daughter began exhibiting signs of OCD, which can be characterized by intrusive or repetitive thoughts or fixations, as a preteen - tells PEOPLE for one of this week's cover stories. "But our coping skills are to find the light."

For Shultz - who is mom to Abbey, 6, and Axel, 5, with husband Alex, and like Mandel struggles with an intense fear of germs and getting sick - the pandemic only exacerbated existing issues. 

For more from Howie Mandel's exclusive interview, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

"It was really, really hard," she recalls. "My anxiety sometimes leads to depression. I went through the extreme and I just locked myself in."

Continues Shultz: "I've been isolated and scared for a year and a half and now that things are starting to open back up, I'm really not at the same place that most people are. I'm working with a therapist to get back out into the world."

Howie Mandel
Howie Mandel
| Credit: Shayan Asgharnia

Still, having a father who understands what she's going through is "helpful," says Shultz. Diagnosed in his 40s, Mandel opened up about his mental health issues in 2006. 

"My dad is very open about going to therapy and erasing the stigma," says Shultz. "Whenever I was upset or sad or having a bad day, I knew I could reach out."

RELATED VIDEO: Howie Mandel on How His Family Gets Him Through Mental Health Struggles: 'That's the Sunshine Worth This Pain'

Watch the full episode of People Cover Story: Howie Mandel on PeopleTV.com or on the PeopleTV app.

But things weren't always ideal in their relationship.

"As a teenager, [our issues] kind of ripped us apart," says Mandel, who was so fearful of germs in the house that he had a guest house built to stay in in case a family member was sick.

Howie Mandel
Credit: Shayan Asgharnia

Says Shultz: "There were a lot of control issues about me being safe, like, where was I, what did I get into, what did I touch? He was strict. And there was a lot of hovering. We had trouble getting along in those times."

howie mandel and daughter podcasting
Howie Mandel and daughter Jackie Shultz podcasting
| Credit: Howie Mandel/Twitter

Now, happily, "we couldn't be closer," says Mandel. In fact, he and Shultz host a podcast, Howie Mandel Does Stuff, launched during the pandemic.

Listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on PEOPLE's interview with Howie Mandel and his daughter Jackie Shultz.

"It came out of a necessity of trying to connect with my child," says the TV personality, who was largely separated from his daughter for over a year during quarantine. "We spend hours a day trying to make each other laugh."