To portray the young orphan, Hathaway lost 25 pounds, and tells PEOPLE’s editor-in-chief Jess Cagle in the latest episode of The Jess Cagle Interview that she “wasn’t in a good place” during that time.
“I’d lost an unhealthy amount of weight in two weeks,” Hathaway, 36, reveals in PEOPLE’s latest cover story. “I didn’t know anything about nutrition. I taxed my body, and my brain bore the brunt of it for a while. I just felt very anxious and very lost at that time.”
“That weight loss was not a long-term good thing for my health, and it took a really long time to come back from it,” she says. “And I was still really sick because of it.”
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The toll her Les Misérables role took on her physically, combined with recent changes in her personal life, kept Hathaway from enjoying her success.
“I had just turned 30. I had just gotten married,” the mom of one recalls. “Even the most positive thing can be upheavals to your identity. So to just have this moment and not really know who I was — and the moment when you just feel like you’re on display — it wasn’t a comfortable feeling. And I didn’t do what I hoped that I would if I ever found myself in that moment.”
Ultimately, Hathaway was able to move forward. “Life went on beyond it,” she says. “I feel much emptier now. It would have been nice if had happened then, but I’ll still take it.”
Serenity is out now.