When people think back on Shailene Woodley’s rise to fame, they probably remember her being very good in The Descendants and then being in the very expensive Divergent movies, where she went on press tours and talked about the a penis-shaped horseradish and suggested women sun their vaginas. It was a kooky time. But in a new profile from the New York Times, Woodley says the YA-adaptation era in her early 20s was actually very difficult, and that she was “very, very sick” for a long time. “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,” said Woodley, whose new movie Endings, Beginnings comes out next week. “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.”
The actress didn’t elaborate on the specifics of her illness, though she said she “will one day,” and she said that she also weathered an abusive relationship that eroded the confidence she had as a teenager starting out in the film industry. Woodley added that “the commercial success I had in this industry began to wear on my strength,” but says now that she is in her late 20s and has dedicated the last few years to focusing on her mental health — and overcoming her physical wellness issues — she is “on the other side” of the dark times and feeling clarity of purpose again. She’s also really enjoying self-isolation, where she is hopefully getting plenty of that vitamin D in whatever capacity she wants it.