Sandra Oh Reveals She Suffered From Insomnia and Body Aches After Sudden 'Grey's Anatomy' Fame

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Adjusting to her Grey's Anatomy fame was easier said than done for Sandra Oh. In Variety's latest "Actors on Actors" issue, the 50-year-old actress discusses the downside of fame with Squid Game star Jung Ho-yeon.

"When Grey’s Anatomy came my life changed very much. And it’s tricky to imagine, because this is almost 20 years ago, so the context is very different, but the stress is the same, or the confusion is the same," said Oh, who played Dr. Cristina Yang on the long-running medical drama for 10 seasons.

When Oh started on the show in 2005, she "got sick."

"I think my whole body was very, very sick," she recalled. "Even though you keep on working, right? It’s just like, 'Oh, I can’t sleep. Oh, my back hurts. I don’t know what’s wrong with my skin.' I learned that I had to take care of my health first."

"But that’s not only your body, right? That is your soul. That is definitely your mind," Oh continued. "You know what I mean? Because you can’t ultimately depend on anyone else. You have to somehow find it within yourself."

Throughout her career, Oh has made it a point to focus on prioritizing her health, because, by doing so, she "sustains... the ability to be present" in both her personal and professional lives.

"Our work is not just shooting; this is a very enjoyable part of our job. We get to sit and we chat, but this is a whole day of work. And it’s a certain type of output that can be depleting," she said. "And now, as I’m deeper into my career, the more time I realize that I have to spend with my creative self: That could be sleeping, that could be walking in the woods, that could be meditating, that could be actually going to class, that could be all those things."

Sandra Oh and Jung Ho-yeon
Alexi Lubomirski for Variety

Back in March, in an interview with ET, Oh opened up about her past struggles with mental health while discussing her film, Turning Red. In the movie, Oh plays Ming Lee, the mother of 13-year-old Mei, a girl who is going through a big family change that turns her into a giant Red Panda when her emotions are triggered.

"Honestly, I relate to Mei quite deeply because I feel like I've spent my entire life trying to manage my inner panda," she said. "... I think what the movie touches on is like extreme highs and lows of emotion. I think as an adult when I realize, 'Oh, I had a lot of depression, I had a lot of anxiety.' I don't think that necessarily I had that type of language. At that point, I would say I was a very emotional kid and obviously I made a career out of it."

"It was really tough to try and figure that out," Oh continued. "This film also touches obviously on a Chinese Canadian family and to have that cultural element and to have your parents not necessarily understand why you're having such huge emotions and messiness, was also a great thing to explore in this film." 

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