In a heart-wrenching new interview, the ‘Pretty Little Liars’ star is bravely opening up for the first time, revealing that she battled some harrowing issues as a teen growing up.
As Spencer on Pretty Little Liars, Troian Bellisario plays an overachieving high school student, often pressured to extremes to succeed. And in a revealing new interview with Seventeen magazine, Troian, 28, admits that she was very similar to her TV character — and it was dangerously affecting her health.
Troian Bellisario Opens Up About Her Self-Harming Issues
As a high school student, Troian says that she struggled to cope with the new challenges, and things eventually got really ugly. “Being a teenager is chaotic because you’re kind of coming into your own. I didn’t know what was right and what was wrong, so I think I created this bizarre system of checks and balances to create order in my world. But it really backfired.”
Those checks and balances Troian refers to included harming herself and not eating as punishment. “I started self-harming when I was a junior. I would withhold food or withhold going out with my friends, based on how well I did that day in school.”
The self-inflicted harsh penalties Troian leveled against herself were all because she wasn’t sure that she’d be accepted unless she was perfect:
It was about wanting to please my father and mother and wanting to be perfect to everybody. I just thought if I ever expressed [to my parents] any sadness or anger or anything that’s going on with me, they would disown me. I kept a lot of it bottled up inside, and it turned into self-destructive behavior.
Troian goes on to say that she felt “imprisoned” as a teen. The issues continued until her friends staged and intervention and convinced her to get help, the PLL actress says. That’s when she finally began to focus on being happy, instead of trying to please everyone.
Lucy Hale & Ashley Benson Support Troian Bellisario
Even now, Troian suggests that her recovery is still a struggle. “Honestly, it’s an ongoing struggle,” she says. “Especially for a woman on a show that has the word ‘pretty’ in it! Sometimes I feel like I’m trying too hard, like I don’t belong. I just look around at Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell, and Ashley Benson and I’m just like, ‘Why am I on this show?'”
What Troian doesn’t realize is that she does belong with those other girls, and that merely by speaking out about her issues, she’s become an inspiration to so many other girls — including her co-stars. After this interview was published, Lucy and Ashley tweeted aboutt Troian:
Everyone check out @SleepintheGardn seventeen mag interview. A very inspiring article. Proud of her for speaking up!
— Lucy Hale (@lucyhale) January 4, 2014
— Ashley Benson (@AshBenzo) January 4, 2014
That kind of support is amazing to see. And Lucy and Ashley are right — Troian was incredibly brave to speak out, and her testimony will help others cope and see that they aren’t the only ones who struggle with self-esteem issues.
What do you think of Troian’s interview, HollywoodLifers? Let us know!
— Andrew Gruttadaro