Shailene Woodley says she was 'very sick' in her early 20s: 'I said no to a lot of opportunities'
"While I was doing the Divergent movies and working hard, I also was struggling with a deeply personal, very scary physical situation," Shailene Woodley explained.
Shailene Woodley is opening up about a very difficult time in her life.
In a new interview with The New York Times, the 28-year-old actress — who has been social distancing at home with her dog amid the coronavirus pandemic — revealed that she was “very, very sick in her early 20s,” which forced her to make her health a priority over her career.
“I haven’t spoken much about this yet publicly, and I will one day, but I was very, very sick in my early 20s. While I was doing the Divergent movies and working hard, I also was struggling with a deeply personal, very scary physical situation,” the Endings, Beginnings star told the newspaper.
“Because of that, I said no to a lot of opportunities because I needed to get better, and those jobs ended up going to peers of mine who I love. They went on to a lot of success,” she added.
Although Woodley continued to work, she worried about whether she would ever be in a place again where her health wouldn’t affect the projects she was able to take on.
“‘Am I going to survive what I’m going through right now and ever be healthy, or even have the opportunity to work on projects I’m passionate about again because of the situation I’m in?’ ” she recalled thinking at the time. “I was in a place where I had no choice but to just surrender and let go of my career, and it brought out this negative voice in my mind that kept spinning for years and years afterward.”
Fortunately, those days are now behind Woodley.
“Now I’m on the other side of it, thank God. A lot of the last few years has been about focusing on mental health for me, and it’s a slow process. But because of that work, I feel very grounded and rooted in who I am and very clear about everything in my life, whether it’s my career or my relationships or my own internal worth,” she added. “I feel very grateful to have walked that line of fire, because now I know what I don’t want to ever go back to.”
Woodley, who has spoken about how starting therapy “dramatically altered my life,” previously shared that she had thought about taking a step back from acting before.
Although she initially refused to read the script for the acclaimed television series, after learning that Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern were all involved, Woodley decided to give the project a chance. “I read it, fell in love with it, and Laura, who I had worked with on The Fault in Our Stars, called me and that was really the push,” she said.
Woodley’s new film Endings, Beginnings will debut April 17 on digital and on demand May 1.
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