Shailene Woodley Talks 'Massive Insecurity and Self-Doubt' After Comparing Herself to Her Peers
By Mona Khalifeh
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Shailene Woodley is getting real about her insecurities. In a new interview with The Guardian, the 29-year-old actress shares that while she's always felt strongly rooted in who she is, in her mid-20s, the pressures of Hollywood began to get to her, causing her to have massive insecurity and self-doubt.
"In my mid-20s, I went through a couple of years feeling insecure about the choices I was making, believing the opinions of others a little bit too much, not staying on my path," Woodley says. "I had a couple of years where comparison was really detrimental to my mental health. 'Am I eating the right f**king breakfast foods? Is this what I want to do? Am I this enough? Am I that enough?'
The Last Letter From Your Lover actress explains that life had "felt good" and "pretty solid" until then, revealing that an illness nearly knocked her on her feet while filming the Divergent series. While she doesn't say what happened, she tells the outlet that she's lucky to be alive.
"You know, health is one of those things where, unless something is very visible, unless you can see someone has a broken leg, it’s such a personal battle, it’s such a private battle," she explains. "All I’ll say is that I feel so grateful to be alive."
It was during this time that Woodley leaned on her Divergent co-star, Kate Winslet, who became somewhat of a mother figure to the young star.
"Kate’s been a huge influence on my life when it comes to staying 100% true to who I am," she says. "I’ll call her and say, ‘I’m falling off the ledge’ or ‘I’m feeling insecure about this’ or ‘I don’t know what to do about that,' and she talks me down. It could be anything: a heartbreak, extreme heartache… Or the feeling that a story ran where someone twisted your words and you’re reading something online and suddenly the whole world thinks you’re a certain way that you’re not. And the panic from that, the panic that can come from, ‘Oh, my God, people think I’m this kind of person and I’m not that kind of person’ -- that’s pretty extreme."
Woodley goes on to describe Winslet as her guardian angel, admitting that she doesn't know if she'd still be acting today without her influence.
"I don’t know I’d still be an actor the way I am today; I wouldn’t be able to cope emotionally with the extreme waves this industry can bring," she notes.
Through these experiences and the guidance of seasoned actresses in the industry, Woodley has discovered that authenticity is the trait she most admires in others.
"Authenticity is my love language,” Woodley shares. "I don’t care if you give me an ugly side of yourself or the mean side of yourself, whatever, just be authentic about it."
And while she calls it her love language, her love life is something she is still trying to keep private. After confirming her engagement to NFL star Aaron Rodgers, Woodley has shared little about their relationship. Last month, she told ET that the couple is in no rush to run to the altar.
"There's no wedding planning happening," Woodley explained when asked about any possible updates. "There's no rush. We've got no rush."
Instead, the actress said the pair is simply "enjoying" their time together and being engaged.