Her characters Sansa Stark and Jean Grey may have led difficult lives onscreen, but turns out it’s nothing compared to what Sophie Turner had to go through in real life.
The Game Of Thrones (GOT) and Dark Phoenix star recently revealed she had to struggle against her body image and feeling “mentally unwell” – and said her husband, singer-actor Joe Jonas, had “saved her life”.
“I was going through this phase of being very mentally unwell. He was, like, ‘I can’t be with you until you love yourself, I can’t see you love me more than you love yourself.’ That was something, him doing that. I think he kind of saved my life, in a way,” the 23-year-old actress said in an interview with the UK’s The Sunday Times.
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Turner, who first appeared in GOT at the young age of 13, admitted going to therapy when she was 19, as she struggled with her body image and being in the limelight at that age.
“Suddenly, everyone’s metabolism slows down at 17, 18 and then that’s documented. My skin and everything. People commenting on it. I was too aware of my body at a young age. And it just kind of took over my mind, it was all I would think about. Calorie counting, everything. Oh, I’ll just eat nuts today,” she said, adding that the stress resulted not having her period for a year.
Turner would meet Jonas a year later – while going through a “phase of being very mentally unwell” – and credits him with helping her get on her feet. The couple tied the knot a few weeks ago during an impromptu Las Vegas wedding.
“Having your adolescence being displayed in public, that’s something I really wish hadn’t happened,” Turner said of her experience on Game Of Thrones. “Being in the age of social media when that’s happening, I think I would be a much saner person if I hadn’t been documented from 13 – your most awkward, uncomfortable, unsure-of-yourself years.”
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The actress has been open about her mental health struggles in other interviews – she’s previously discussed turning to therapy as she dealt with fan criticisms and studio execs urging her to lose weight.
“You see 10 great comments and you ignore them, but one negative comment and it just like, throws you off,” she said in an interview with Dr Phil McGraw last month. “People used to write, ‘Damn, Sansa gained 10 lbs.,’ or ‘Sansa needs to lose 10 lbs.’ It was just a lot of weight comments. Or I would have spotty skin because I was a teenager and that’s normal, but I used to get a lot of comments about my skin and my weight and how I wasn’t a good actress.”
She added: “I love myself now, or more than I used to, I think. I don’t think I loved myself at all. But I’m now with someone that makes me realise that I do have some redeeming qualities, I suppose. When someone tells you they love you every day, it makes you really think about why that is and I think it makes you love yourself a bit more. So yeah, I love myself.”