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Emily Blunt opens up about childhood stutter — and how she overcame it

As a child, Blunt did impressions of other people to mask her stutter, and that got her cast in the school play.
/ Source: TODAY

Life for Emily Blunt these days is pretty great: She's married to "The Office" alum John Krasinski and the pair have two adorable little girls, Hazel, 4, and Violet, 21 months. She's also starring alongside her hubby in the new thriller "A Quiet Place," which he directed.

But as a child, Blunt, 35, was bullied for speaking with a stutter — one she still has today. To deal with it at school, she developed a flair for talking in "a lot of funny voices because I could speak more fluently if I didn’t sound like me," the actress told People magazine.

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Emily Blunt, pictured with husband John Krasinski, says acting helped her deal with her lifelong stutter.Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images

When she was 12, a teacher overheard Blunt doing different impressions and suggested she try out for the class play: "He said, 'I think you are funny, and you should do it. And have you ever thought about doing it in a different voice?'"

Being in the school production ignited Blunt's love of theater. Over the years, acting has helped hide her stutter, but it's never gone away entirely.

"It still comes back and flares if I'm really tired, or when I was pregnant it was really prominent again," said the "The Devil Wears Prada" alum. "It runs in my family. I had an uncle, cousin, grandfather who stuttered. It’s nothing to do with anxiety. It’s just a kind of brain-synapse thing that happens to people who are genetically predisposed to have it."

"The worst, she added, "is having it at 12, 13."

Stutterers are "very bullied," said the star, who now works with an organization called the American Institute of Stuttering to try to help others.

Though her own stutter hasn't prevented her from winning a BAFTA, Golden Globe and Critics' Choice Award, Blunt knows for many people, stuttering presents "a real problem."

"It’s not just kids. You have adults into their 40s and 50s who haven’t been able to get the jobs that they deserve because you’re sort of misrepresented by how you speak," she said.