By Dana Schwartz
November 26, 2018 at 05:45 PM EST
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Since the premiere of HBO’s Girls in 2012, Lena Dunham has been an object of fascination, resentment, jealousy, and hatred. Recently, mostly hatred. The writer and actress has become synonymous with white-girl feminism and the indulgence our culture permits wealthy women of privilege, and allowed to apologize for missteps over and over and over again. In an in-depth interview with New York Magazine’s Allison P. Davis, the ever-exhibitionist Dunham was characteristically open, revealing details of her painful chronic illness, her breakup with Jack Antonoff, and how to move forward when your name is a loaded word. Here are a few of the things we learn.

Dunham knows she has a… complicated history with pets.

There’s a long-running internet conspiracy theory that Dunham kills her pets; it began last year when she gave up her adopted dog, Lamby, because he had severe anxiety and behavioral issues. After Lamby — whom she had written about in The New Yorker — bit her, she Instagrammed a photo of the bloody damage. Later, she posted the story of giving him up on the app, too. Soon after, an employee from BARC, the shelter she’d adopted him from, wrote an email claiming the dog was just fine, actually, until he met Dunham. In June, Gia Marie, a Sphynx cat she had adopted, died suddenly; a couple of months later, her 13-year-old Yorkie, Bowie, died too. Gia Marie had lung damage after surviving a house fire, Dunham explains to me, and Bowie … well, when you are a nice person who adopts end-of-life pets, sometimes they die.

Still, Dunham maintains that she’s a “very committed pet owner. Ask anybody who works with me on a pet level.”

She’s in treatment for PTSD

Dunham admitted to recovering from a Klonopin addiction within the year, and looks back on her addiction and personality while on the drug as a source of many of her strained relationships. Getting clean was one of many steps for Dunham to treat her mental illness.

Dunham wanted to be drug-free in order to enter intensive treatment for her previously undiagnosed PTSD. She had begun to experience panic attacks and crippling depression. She says the PTSD was a result of the trauma of sexual assault and “medical trauma.” Gynecological appointments were particularly triggering. She began prolonged-exposure therapy (and keeps harassing The New Yorker’s David Remnick to let her profile the therapist who created it. So far, no go).

She heard the rumors about ex Jack Antonoff cheating on her with Lorde

When Dunham and her boyfriend of six years split, rumors swirled that the musician (who had produced Lorde’s most recent album) had cheated on her with the Australian pop star.

“[I]t was so embarrassing,” she says, closing her eyes. “It was awful because I felt like a weird — ” She cuts herself off. “I don’t think anything happened between them. I can never know someone else’s life. I have never spoken to Ella [Lorde] about it. We haven’t talked since Jack and I broke up. It was awful, and I couldn’t do anything about it except trust that what he was saying to me was true.”

Dunham and former production partner Jenni Konner are not on the best terms

The two were co-showrunners on Girls and co-creators of Camping. The now-defunct Lenny Letter was a combination of their names. In July, they announced their professional split.

The only times Dunham gets uncharacteristically tight-lipped are when I ask questions about Konner. When she starts her answers, they are usually hedged with “All I will say is” or “I don’t want to speak for Jenni.” It seems there was no explosive breaking point but rather a slow dissolution. People who are close to both of them say they are no longer friends.

Her mother doesn’t enjoy Dunham’s public exhibitionism the way she does

Dunham’s mom, acclaimed artist Laurie Simmons, doesn’t share her daughter’s proclivity for publicizing every aspect of their lives. During a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Dunham pranked her mom by texting her pictures of horrible outfits she said she was thinking of wearing, and then FaceTimed her live to reveal they were on air.

Did Simmons enjoy it? “No.”

Dunham seems shocked. “You didn’t hate it, though, did you?”

“Kind of.”

Simmons also registered her distaste with the photos Dunham posted, of her and her family, while they were at the hospital. 

She has a lot of famous friends

The profile mentions friendships with Lady Gaga, Emmy Rossum, Amy Schumer, Nicole Richie, and, still, Taylor Swift. 

She sent a screenshot of a motivational text conversation she’d had with her friend Lady Gaga, who is saved in her contacts as Lady Gaga, not as Stefani…

…She called her “good friend” Emmy Rossum, who asked what she wanted to do to feel better…

…”I texted Amy Schumer the other day, and she was like, ‘How are you doing,’”…

…She’s still friends with Taylor Swift, which surprises even her….

…She’s also working with friends, like Nicole Richie, to help them develop their own writing…

She has a digital strategist

This tidbit is just mentioned in passing but…. what is that person getting paid? And did they know about this profile?

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