Lindsey Shaw Says She Was Fired From 'Pretty Little Liars' Due to Body Image Struggles, Drug Use

Lindsey Shaw
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Shaw played Paige, Emily (Shay Mitchell)'s girlfriend on the Freeform series.

Lindsey Shaw is looking back at a tough time in her career.

On the latest episode of her podcast, Ned's Declassified Podcast Survival Guide -- which she co-hosts with her former Ned's Declassified co-stars, Devon Werkheiser and Daniel Curtis Lee -- Shaw reflected on her time on Pretty Little Liars. Shaw, who starred as Paige McCullers, Emily (Shay Mitchell)'s girlfriend on the long-running Freeform series, claims she was fired from the show.

"It was so bad. I got called into Pretty Little Liars' creator’s [I. Marlene King] office. And she was just like, 'So we're gonna let you go,'" Shaw recalled. "She was like, 'It's not because of your acting, but do you have anybody to talk to?' And I was like, 'No,' you know?"

"She's like, 'Well, find somebody,' and 'We have to let you go now,'" she added, through tears.

Shaw revealed that during her time on PLL she struggled with drug use and body image issues, something she called a "dumb cycle" that ended up affecting her work.

The 34-year-old actress revealed she even went through a "whole season" of using drugs.

"When I had my problem and I was in between working on stuff, I would never have to address my relationship with food because it was like, I could always just go get more Adderall," she shared. "It was really an embarrassing thing. I didn't look good too skinny and then when I started to put the weight back on, I couldn’t handle being too heavy."

Shaw's character, Paige, was written out in season 5, episode 14, after moving to California early for college to get away from "A" and all the trouble in Rosewood. 

Despite being let go from the show, Shaw said she was grateful to the PLL writers for bringing her back for the show's final season, making a return in season 7, episode 8, where she briefly rekindled her relationship with Emily.

"It was really sweet, because they brought me back in season 7," Shaw said. "It was so lovely of that writing team to just see that relationship [between Paige and Emily] and that character out. But it was rough.”

She added, "They did me so right bringing me back for season 7 and just letting me say goodbye. I will never forget that."

She also praised her co-star and on-screen love interest, Mitchell, for her support during that difficult time.

"We went to the same nutritionist for a while," she said of Mitchell. "She was bringing me protein powder. She was like, 'Girl.' Yeah, it was awful."

Though it wasn't a great time in her career, Shaw said that now that she's in a better place, she's able to appreciate and accept her past.

"I'm starting to be able to, like, step away from or forgive and appreciate and accept," she said. "That was, you know, a wild time, and it kind of brought me here to where I am now. And for better, for worse, whatever happens in the future, like, this is the only life that I can be living.”

Shaw added, "Whatever professional success was in the past... it's not comparing to the Friday nights [where] I can sit and enjoy a movie on the couch now."

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or call 1-800-931-2237.