Ricki Lake's goal in 2020 and beyond is to be free and real -- starting with her hair, which has been a major source of pain in her life ... but she vows no more.
The "Hairspray" star and former talk show host just revealed her new buzz-cut hairdo, and the story that goes with it is both heart-wrenching and inspiring.
Ricki starts with the good news -- her haircut isn't a sign that she's sick or suffering through a mid-life crisis or a mental breakdown, but she has been suffering ... through decades of hair loss.
Lake says the struggle has been "debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely" and adds ... "There have been a few times where I have even felt suicidal over it. Almost no one in my life knew the level of deep pain and trauma I was experiencing."
She says her hair loss began with her role in the 1988 film due to all the treatments and teasing of her locks, but over the years it was due to many other factors -- dieting, dyes, genetics, stress, hormonal birth control, pregnancies and so on.
Ricki says she's tried everything to restore her hair but it hasn't worked, so instead of going through the emotional pain over and over again ... she decided to set herself free.
She says, "I buzzed my hair off and it feels so good!"
Lake says her goal from now on is to be real and done hiding, adding ... "I am liberated. I am free. I am releasing and letting go. I am brave. I am beautiful I am love."