Since being cast as Rey in the Star Wars franchise, Daisy Ridley has suffered from extreme anxiety — which even led to a serious health scare.
Ridley, 31, shared how drastically her life changed after being offered the role as Rey by J.J. Abrams in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in an interview with Inverse published on Thursday, January 25.
“‘Understand the scale,’” Ridley recalled Abrams, 57, telling her at the time. “‘This is not a role in a movie. This is a religion for people. It changes things on a level that is inconceivable.’”
Ridley — who is currently promoting her new movie, Sometimes I Think About Dying — went on to explain that while she was filming, she convinced herself she was “coping fine” with the pressure, but the experience still felt isolating to her.
“For friends and family, or any people who see something in a slightly different way than you do, there’s this projection of you, and you in that world, and how it feels to do this and that,” the actress shared. “And you’re like, ‘Well, actually, I’m just a human being, separate from that.’ It’s quite this wrestle, of the reality and the fantasy that’s often projected onto you.”
Although she managed to handle criticism from die-hard Star Wars fans and her battle with endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome quite well, after The Last Jedi premiered in 2017, Ridley’s anxiety eventually got so bad she developed “holes in her stomach wall.” Her health scare led her to take a six month sabbatical before beginning to film The Rise of the Skywalker, which premiered in 2019.
“After the last Star Wars came out and everything was quiet, I was like, ‘What the f–k?’ I was grieving,” she said, adding that the pandemic was “helpful” in a way she never expected. “I realized there was a lot that I hadn’t processed properly.”
Ridley has previously been open about her mental health and going to therapy after being catapulted into fame.
“I went to therapy for a bit, which was great because a lot of it was about feeling out of control, cause I’m quite controlling in that I like to know what’s going on and suddenly you’re in a situation where you have no idea what’s going on,” she explained to Glamour UK in a January 2020 interview. “You don’t know if people are gonna look at you, you don’t know if people are gonna be somewhere. Like you don’t know to what extent, your day is gonna go.”