Claire Foy Recalls Her ‘Extremely Painful’ Battle With Juvenile Arthritis as a Teen

Claire Foy
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The British actress also addresses the pay gap scandal on the set of 'The Crown.'

Claire Foy is opening up about her long road to stardom, including facing juvenile arthritis.

In a new interview with WSJ Magazine, the 34-year-old actress discusses the disease and how she overcame it, as well as some of the other hardships of adolescence.

“Feeling stupid is not a nice thing. I wasn’t really good at anything. I was relatively good at home economics, at making cakes, and I was quite sporty,” she says. “But I had juvenile arthritis from the ages of 12 to 15, so I was on crutches,” she explains. “[The arthritis] was extremely painful… Anxiety was part of my life at that age, but I didn’t realize that was what it was until my mid-20s.”

Foy went on to explain that, over the years, she has found a number of ways to manage her anxiety, including a meditation app called Calm, as well as therapy and support. For her, anxiety is about obsessing about something until it's fraying her nerves.

“It’s not as bad as it was, but that’s through a lot of work, doing things that I never thought I would do,” she shares.  “I know that I need to catch myself early in a process of overthinking. It’s always about questioning myself. Even though I have had a thought a million will always be something I need to think about another million times that day. It will be like, ‘Shall I go for a walk today?’ or [about] massive life decisions.”

The acclaimed actress, whose career has blossomed since starring on The Crown, made it clear that nothing is more important to her than her 3-year-old daughter, Ivy Rose.

“The first AD [assistant director] would ask me if we could go an hour over,” she recalls of filming season one of the hit show. “So then I am just like, ‘What does everyone want to do? Do we want the overtime, or do we all want to go home because we have been working eight days straight?’ Time is f**king precious, and making a TV program is really important, but getting back in time for my daughter’s bedtime is far more important to me.”

She shared with the newspaper that she intends to make sure her daughter has the chance to do and see more than she did as a child.

“Holidays. We never had enough money to travel,” she says. “[It doesn’t have to be] fancy, just swimming in a pool, a time that is happy and [about] exploring.”

Foy also readdressed the controversy that erupted last year when reports surfaced that Matt Smith, who played Prince Philip on the show, was paid more than Foy even though she was the show’s star

“I was being paid less than Matt,” Foy says.  “It was a short, sharp initiation into people wanting you to have an opinion about something you’re involved in. You want to make sure you are saying something beneficial for a huge number of people, something that is not reductive and that you believe in, but you don’t really know enough about.”

Ultimately, Foy was given back pay from Netflix to settle the disparity amounting to $275,000.

Smith was also interviewed for the piece, where he echoed her statement: “We were suddenly thrust into this discussion that none of us knew anything about. But we had a sense of unity, and I fully support Claire.”

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