The Vertigo star confessed to having the manic-depressive mood disorder as she gave a speech at the Turner Classic Movies Classic Film Festival in Hollywood on Friday (13Apr12), according to the Los Angeles Times.
She told the crowd, "I'm bipolar... but there's medicine you can take for this now. I was not diagnosed until much later. I go through more of the depression than the mania part."
The 79 year old also opened up about her bittersweet decision to give up her career in her 1960s heyday, admitting she still has regrets about bowing out of the industry to take up painting.
She added, "I don't think I was ever cut out to have a Hollywood life. Did I do the right thing, leaving? Did I walk out when I shouldn't have? That's when I get sad."
The actress plans to hold an exhibition of her artwork for the first time next year (13) and donate a portion of the proceeds to mental heath organisations.
Novak was in town to cement her hand and footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Saturday (14Apr12). Actresses Debbie Reynolds and Connie Stevens attended the ceremony to show their support.