Shailene Woodley Says Doing This in Her Mid-20s Was ‘Detrimental’ to Her Mental Health


Comparison really is the thief of joy. After over two decades in Hollywood, Last Letter From Your Lover star Shailene Woodley is opening up about staying true to herself—and all the times she didn’t.

While Woodley is more self-assured these days, she recently told The Guardian that in her early and mid-20s, she stopped listening to her inner voice and became more susceptible to peer pressure. “I was so strong-headed and free-willed, so rooted in the core of who I was,” she said. “But in my mid-20s I went through a couple of years feeling insecure about the choices I was making, believing the opinions of others a little bit too much, not staying on my path.” Questions like “Am I eating the right fucking breakfast foods? Is this what I want to do? Am I this enough? Am I that enough?” wore away at her.

“I had a couple of years where comparison was really detrimental to my mental health,” Shailene Woodley said, adding that at the time, she suffered from “massive insecurity and self-doubt.” She also suffered from a severe physical illness, which she’s mentioned before but not specified the exact nature of. The actor told The Guardian, “You know, health is one of those things where, unless something is very visible, unless you can see someone has a broken leg, it’s such a personal battle, it’s such a private battle…All I’ll say is that I feel so grateful to be alive.”

She’s also grateful to the many mentors she’s met on set, revealing in this interview that costars like Ann-Margaret, Molly Ringwald, George Clooney, and especially Kate Winslet have become her surrogate Hollywood parents. Calling the Mare of Easttown star her “guardian angel,” Woodley says that without Winslet, “I don’t know I’d still be an actor the way I am today; I wouldn’t be able to cope emotionally with the extreme waves this industry can bring.” 


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