Bracco said in her new book, "The Couch," a number of factors including a divorce and her daughter's illness had her engulfed in "pea-soup gloom" when she started playing Dr. Jennifer Melfi, the New York Post reported Friday.
In a book excerpt published in People magazine, Bracco, 51, said she was drawn to her ex-husband, Harvey Keitel, because he "was as fierce in life as he was in his films."
She said his behavior became erratic after eight years together and she entered into an affair with actor Edward James Olmos. After Keitel found out and left her, they engaged in a bitter custody battle over their daughter, Stella.
Bracco and Olmos married in 1994 and a year later Stella got "desperately ill" with systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, she said.
"It was one thing after another, terrible stress bringing me down," Bracco wrote.
She attributes a combination of medication and therapy for her current mental state.
"I (decided) I didn't want my happiness to be conditional -- on a man, on a job, on my looks. I felt that I was truly in charge of my life again," she wrote. "When I finally got up from the couch, I felt stronger, empowered and hopeful about the future."