Ryan Phillippe has suffered with depression since he was a child.

The 40-year-old actor - who was previously married to Reese Witherspoon - has opened up about his lifelong battle with the mental health condition and how it affected him professionally.

Speaking to Elle.com, he said: ''You know, depression has been a huge obstacle for me ever since I was a child.

''As you get older I think it decreases some, but I'm just innately kind of a sad person. I'm empathetic, and I take on the feelings of others and transpose myself into the position of others.''

However, the hunky star can see some positives in the illness because it's shaped him and made him the person he is today.

He explained: ''There's great value to it, but it can also ruin your f*****g life. But, that being said, if it was a choice between being this way or being completely ignorant I'd prefer to suffer through the sadness than to be a complete moron with no feelings.''

But, despite Ryan's positive attitude towards his condition, he feels saddened by the thought he may have passed depression on to his 14-year-old daughter Ava, whom he has with Reese.

He said: ''I see it in my daughter. She has it, and I wish to hell she didn't. It's just, some people do have this pervading sort of sadness, or they're so analytical that they can kind of take the fun out of things because they think too much.''

Ryan also has 11-year-old son Deacon with Reese and daughter Kailani, three, with his ex-girlfriend Alexis Knapp.