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10/03/2008 at 02:00 PM EDT
For former child star Kirsten Dunst,
life hasn't always been easy – but rehab has helped.
"Everybody in life goes through obstacles in different times of their life, and this year was my difficult time," Dunst told reporters at the How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
press day in New York about her stint in rehab
earlier this year. "It's part of life and it's just called growing up."
Dunst, 26, checked into Utah's Cirque Lodge Treatment Center last February for depression and said she has gained perspective.
"What I have learned is if you make it out of this business and realize the whole bigger picture of it all, you are in a good spot," says Dunst. "It's just seeing what is important and the bigger things in life."
Keeping a balance between her private life and living in front of the cameras is something that the Spider-Man
star strives for.
"It's not healthy to live that kind of life," she says. "I don't live in the spotlight and I don't live my life in front of the paparazzi. I live very comfortably and quietly as possible."
Who does Dunst look up to as a role model of healthy Hollywood living?
"There are plenty of people who have made it. I think Natalie Portman
is quite smart and has made the transition."
1994: 12-year-old Kirsten kisses Brad – and tells!
Read about other stars who’ve sought help in rehab