Billie Piper recalls why she needed a period of “debauchery” and “not looking perfect” in her life

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Billie Piper just pointed out a misconception about the time in her life when others assumed she was “falling apart”, and it makes for a fascinating discussion.

Everybody was talking about Billie Piper’s TV drama series I Hate Suzie this summer. 

Following the story of an actor whose life is turned upside down after nude photos of her are leaked, the show examined the choices women in their 30s make – including the bad ones and the really, really terrible ones. Co-created with Lucy Prebble, I Hate Suzie made for funny, raw and often relatable viewing, it was hailed by critics and fans alike. 

Piper has just talked about the success of the show on David Tennant Does A Podcast, reflecting on the choices that she’s made in her own life, including her decision to take a few years out of the spotlight to live a “normal” life after becoming famous as a teenager.

“I would say I was in a dark place and just ready to have a bit of a normal life, whatever that meant for me.” Piper tells Tennant in the podcast interview.

“I was just so tired. If I’m honest, I was really burnt out. I also wanted to have some freedom. I wanted to stay at home and learn how to cook properly and do what felt like healing things. Also, I went and got completely hammered for three years with [former husband] Chris Evans.” 

Explaining why she needed this period of so-called “debauchery” and “not looking perfect” she continues: “It’s funny because everyone framed that period in my life as the sort of horribly, debauched, irresponsible me falling apart, looking like shit, putting on weight. 

“And that was really important to me, that period of my life. I needed that. Me not looking perfect every day in a tabloid was the best way for me to heal. 

“Every time there’d be a picture of me looking completely groomed and manicured within an inch of my life, I can tell you I was completely unhappy and starving and dark on the inside. And I haven’t brushed my hair since… I really have rejected that stuff.”

Asked if she has any regrets about finding fame at a young age, Piper replies: “No, not at all. None of it. I don’t regret that time. I can’t regret that time, really. I don’t think that would be very helpful… I wish I had done some things better and I wish other people had done some things better, but I don’t sit there at night feeling really angry and regretful.”

Piper also reflects on her time starring alongside Tennant in Doctor Who, what it was like growing up when her mum had postnatal depression, and why she’s taking more control of her own work. 

You can listen to the full David Tennant Does A Podcast episode on all podcast platforms or via his website.

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…