Sophie Turner may have worldwide popularity thanks to her role as Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones, but she revealed in an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw in podcast Phil in the Blanks, that fame has also put her in a battle with depression since she was 17—and she even contemplated suicide.
The actress started acting in the HBO series when she was 14. When puberty hit her at 17 and she started putting on the kilos and getting pimples, she started receiving vicious comments on social media, attacking her looks.
“I used to get a lot of comments about my skin, my weight and how I wasn’t a good actress. I used to get called ‘wooden’ a lot—still do.”
The comments made her feel self-conscious, but criticisms about her acting didn’t made her mad—it spurred her to improve her acting chops. “I actually wasn’t angry about the fact that people said I was wooden because it kind of inspired me to try new methods of acting.”
However, what got to her were comments about her weight and she said she used to make the staff tighten her corset to make her appear slimmer.
While she admitted social media wasn’t the main reason for her depression (“I think it was some sort of chemical imbalance”), it contributed to and was the catalyst for her mental health condition.
She became withdrawn and at one point, she had no motivation to do anything, even go out with her friends, and would break down into tears even while getting dressed.
She also made a surprising revelation when she said she used to think about suicide. She said, “It’s weird… I said I wasn’t depressed very much when I was younger, but I used to think about suicide a lot when I was younger.”
However, she didn’t think she would have gone through with it, describing it as “a weird fascination I used to have.”
Her parents only found out about her condition less than a year ago when bills for her therapist started coming through.
Apart from therapy, Sophie is also on medication and the combination has helped her get better. “I love myself now—or more than I used to. I don’t think I loved myself at all.”
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She also attributed her happiness to her fiancé, Joe Jonas. “I’m now with someone who made me realised I do have some redeeming qualities. When someone tells you they love you every day, it really makes you think about why that is and it makes you love yourself a bit more.”
If you suspect a friend could be suffering, here are a few things you can do: Listen closely to their feelings and try not to give solutions. Instead gently advise them to get help early, and be supportive. Check in on them when possible, to see how they are coping.
These helplines are available in Singapore:
- Mental Health Helpline: 6389 2222
- Singapore Association for Mental Health: 1800-283-7019
- Samaritans of Singapore (SOS): 1800-221-4444
- Silver Ribbon: 63861928, 67424190, 63853714