Sophie Turner says she was depressed for years as a teen and one of the reasons was the scrutiny she received over her physical appearance and performance on “Game of Thrones.”
“I think the biggest challenge — and I’ve had it for the longest, out of a lot of problems — is my depression. I’ve suffered with depression for about five or six years now,” Turner told Dr. Phil on his podcast, “Phil in the Blanks.” “The biggest challenge for me is just getting out of bed and getting out of the house and learning to love yourself is the biggest challenge, I think.”
In the interview, which you can view above, Turner, who plays Sansa Stark on the soon-to-be-ended HBO fantasy series, said: “I really don’t think I had any issues with it up until I was, yeah, around 17. And then it just all of a sudden kind of hit me.”
The actress says she felt alone around that age, just as her friends and brothers moved away to attend college, while she was still working on “Game of Thrones” and living at home with her parents.
But when Dr. Phil asked her if working on the show itself was what led to her depression, Turner said no.
“No, I mean it was like long hours and things like that, but I was so in love with it,” she said. “Everything was just like — I couldn’t believe I was going to get paid for it. I was like, ‘Oh my God, and I get paid for it as well! What an amazing show.’ Everything was incredible and it only started to kind of go downhill, I think, when I started to hit puberty and really puberty, though, at like 17. And my metabolism was like slowing down massively, and I was gaining weight. And then there was the social media scrutiny and everything, and that was when it kind of hit me.”
Turner says she would read a lot of negative comments about her weight and skin, with “GoT” fans on Twitter saying her acting as Sansa was “wooden.” While she says the social media scrutiny was not the “main reason” for her depression, “it was definitely a bit of a catalyst.”
“I would just believe it,” Turner said. “I would just say, ‘Yeah, I am spotty, I am fat, I am a bad actress.’ And I just believed it.” She says this led her to become very self conscious while on set regarding how she was shot and her costumes.
When Dr. Phil asked Turner if suicide ever seemed like a “good option” to her during her depression, she responded: “Yeah, yeah it did. I used to … it’s weird, I say that I wasn’t depressed very much when I was younger, but I used to think about suicide a lot when I was younger.”
“I don’t know why though,” she added. “Maybe it’s just a weird fascination I used to have. But yeah, I used to think about it. I don’t think I ever would have gone through with it. I don’t know.”
Now Turner says she is in therapy and on medication and tries not to read comments on social media these days. She says it still bothers her to see negative remarks, but not “as much” as it once did.
“I love myself now, or more than I used to, I think. I don’t think I love myself at all, but I’m now with someone that makes me realize, you know, that I do have some redeeming qualities I suppose,” she said, referencing her fiancé Joe Jonas. “And 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 little bit more. So, yeah, I love myself.”
“Game of Thrones” airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.