Vicky McClure on how learning who her real friends are has impacted her mental health

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Speaking at Stylist Live LUXE, Vicky McClure reflects on how forming authentic friendships (and cutting toxic people out of her life) has helped her mental health. 

Vicky McClure has mastered that magical balance of being wildly successful but wonderfully relatable. The Nottingham-born actor has grown up on our screens, starring in celebrated shows such as This Is England, Broadchurch and Line Of Duty. In other words, she’s one of the most recognisable faces of British television.

However, as we experienced firsthand when she graced Stylist’s cover, McClure has remained authentic and down-to-earth to her very core. This is something she decided to address at this year’s Stylist Live LUXE, citing authentic and meaningful friendships as the key to staying grounded. And, more importantly, as the key to good mental health, too. 

“I’ve never suffered with any kind of mental health issues that have meant I’ve needed to see anyone, but I’ve got lots of people in my life who have been through those sorts of situations,” McClure says.

McClure continues: “I think it’s really important to surround yourself with people who make you feel good. We all make friends as we go along. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been friends for 20 years or 20 minutes: sometimes you just meet people you connect with.”

After many years in the entertainment industry, McClure says she’s learned to spot people that have an agenda, and only spends time with people that make her feel good. It’s a skill she’s mastered with age. 

“Find people that are not in competition with you, they’re not trying to bring you down,” she says. “Surround yourself with them, because as you get older you start to see what people’s intentions are and I just haven’t got time for it. Life’s too short. It helps my day-to-day mental health and just keeps me grounded.”

"Find people that are not in competition with you, they’re not trying to bring you down. Surround yourself with them."

McClure still lives in Nottingham, and says that many of her friends are people that she went to school with. But it’s her friendships at work, particularly with the Line of Duty cast, that are also beneficial to her emotional wellbeing.

She says: “I spend a lot of time with Martin Compston (Steve Arnott) on Line of Duty, and everybody’s got their job. The director’s got their job, there’s a lot going on, so we have really been there for each other in a way we really needed. We make a bit of dinner together and chat. Sometimes it’s not talking about work, sometimes it’s learning lines… it’s whatever we think we need at that time. 

“I couldn’t do that job without them,” she adds. “It makes a big difference.”

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Images: Bronac McNeil / Stylist

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.

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