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Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner opens up about her depression at its worst

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Hollie Richardson
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Sophie Turner smiling

Growing up on screen as a Game of Thrones star – arguably the biggest TV show in the world right now - must be a brilliant yet totally bizarre experience. 

Sophie Turner, who was just 13 years old when she was cast as Sansa Stark, has now opened up about how she experienced depression four years into filming. 

“It’s weird. I say I wasn’t very depressed when I was younger, but I used to think about suicide a lot when I was younger. I don’t know why though,” she said in a Phil in the Blanks podcast interview with Dr. Phil this week. “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.”

Explaining how social media was a big part of the problem, with people criticising how she looked on-screen, Turner explained: “People used to say, ‘Damn, Sansa gained 10 lbs’ or ‘Damn, Sansa needs to lose 10 lbs or, ‘Sansa got fat.’ It was just a lot of weight comments, or I would have spotty skin, because I was a teenager, and that’s normal, and I used to get a lot of comments about my skin and my weight and how I wasn’t a good actress.”

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Turner continued: “I would just believe it. I would say, ‘Yeah, I am spotty. I am fat. I am a bad actress.’ I would just believe it. I would get [the costume department] to tighten my corset a lot. I just got very, very self-conscious.

“I just would cry and cry and cry over just getting changed and putting on clothes and be like, ‘I can’t do this. I can’t go outside. I have nothing that I want to do.”

The actor then discussed how her relationship with Joe Jonas has helped her, saying: “I [sometimes] don’t think I love myself at all, but I’m now with someone that makes me realise I do have some redeeming qualities, I suppose,” she said. “And when someone tells you they love you every day, it makes you really think about why that is and I think that makes you love yourself a bit more. So yeah, I love myself.”

Sansa Stark

With one in four people in the UK living with a mental illness today, successful stars who open up about their own experiences can help break the stigma surrounding the issue, so that others feel confident enough to seek help and speak out. And Sophie isn’t the only Game of Thrones star to join the conversation. 

Lena Headey, who plays Cersei Lannsiter - opened up about her battle with anxiety and depression a couple of years ago. Responding to someone who asked whether she ever felt insecure, she replied: “I overthink for sure. I am familiar with depression. I get HUGE anxiety (always fun) Insecure, not really.” She then expanded on how she coped, saying: “Anxiety is a beast. You have to talk to beasts. Release them back into the wild. Easier said than done I know but still. Good to Practice.”

Anyone who wants to speak to the Samaritans can call their free phone line on 116 123 or email them at jo@samartitans.org. 

Images: Getty

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