Shailene Woodley Has Been Privately Battling a ‘Debilitating’ Secret Illness
Shailene Woodley detailed an illness that previously kept her from taking acting roles.
On Friday (July 16), the Divergent star spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the mysterious illness that she has been dealing with privately.
“It was pretty debilitating,” she admitted. “I said no to a lot of projects, not because I wanted to but because I physically couldn’t participate in them. And I definitely suffered a lot more than I had to because I didn’t take care of myself. The self-inflicted pressure of not wanting to be helped or taken care of created more physical unrest throughout those years.”
Woodley said that she is at the "tail end" of her illness and is coming out the other side. The time she was sick has taught her about different aspects of life.
"It's an interesting thing, going through something so physically dominating while also having so many people pay attention to the choices you make, the things you say, what you do, what you look like,” she shared. “It spun me out for a while. You feel so incredibly isolated and alone. Unless someone can see that you have a broken arm or a broken leg, it’s really difficult for people to relate to the pain that you’re experiencing when it’s a silent, quiet and invisible pain.”
Woodley said that she learned how to not care what people think about her. She revealed that when she did pay attention to the noise that was surrounding her, it took her longer for both her mind and body to heal because "I wasn’t focused on myself, I was focused on an image of myself via the lens of everyone around us.”
Woodley first briefly spoke about her illness in a 2020 interview with The New York TImes. She revealed that her illness began when she was filming the Divergent movies and that she went through a "deeply personal, very scary physical situation." During that time, she questioned if she would survive or be healthy enough to act again. She chose to take time to focus on her physical and mental health, and it later paid off.
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