Shailene Woodley has spoken out about a health scare that almost ended 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,” she said without elaborating on the cause of her illness.
“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 continued.
The Southern California native said she was criticized for turning down work.
“There was a mix of people saying, ‘You shouldn’t have let that go’ or ‘You shouldn’t have been sick,’” she said. “That was combined with my own internal process of, ‘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 has since recovered and is doing much better.
“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 said. “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 has been nominated for two Golden Globes and an Emmy Award. Her previous credits include Allegiant, The Fault in Our Stars, The Spectacular Now, The Descendants, and parts in several TV series.