Shailene Woodley has recently opened up about her major health concern, which forced her to turn down roles, as she “physically couldn’t participate in them.”
In a new cover story, the 29-year-old actress opened up about her debilitating health condition, revealing that she has struggled with it but is now “on the tail end of” it.
Previously, Woodley revealed she was “very, very sick in her early 20s,” though she has not talked about her condition.
She said, “It was pretty debilitating. 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.”
“I’m on the tail end of it, which is very exciting,” she added, “but 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. It spun me out for a while. You feel so incredibly isolated and alone.”
The Fault In Our Stars actress continued, “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.”
She went on to share what she learned from her health condition, adding, “It made me learn the incredibly difficult life task of not caring what people think about you very quickly.”
“The more I paid attention to the noise that was surrounding me, the longer it was taking my body and my mind 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 added.
In April 2020, Woodley told The New York Times, “I haven’t spoken much about this [her health issue] 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.”
“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,” she added. “They went on to a lot of success.”
Woodley continued to work, but she worried whether her health would affect her career.
She said, “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?”
“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,” she added. The story was published in Health.