Sophie Turner is opening up about her mental health struggles.
In a candid interview with Dr. Phil on his podcast — Phil in the Blanks — Tuesday, the “Game of Thrones” star revealed that she started suffering from depression when she was 17 years old, just four years after she began filming for the hit HBO show.
“I was so in love with [‘Game of Thrones’]… I couldn’t believe I was going to get paid for it… Everything was incredible,” Turner began to explain to Dr. Phil. “It only started to kind of go downhill I think when I started to hit puberty, really puberty though at like 17, and my metabolism was slowing down massively, and I was gaining weight, and there was social media scrutiny and everything — and that’s when it kind of hit me.”
Asked if social media was what caused her depression, the 23-year-old actress emphasized that it was a contributing factor, but not the whole reason.
“I think it contributed. I wouldn’t say that was the main reason. I think it was some sort of chemical imbalance. I think it definitely was a bit of a catalyst.”
Turner explained that people would scrutinize her appearance and acting abilities, which affected her. “You see 10 great comments and you ignore them, but one negative comment and it just like throws you off.”
Since 2011, the star has played Sansa Stark on “Game of Thrones.”
“… People used to say, ‘Damn, Sansa gained 10 lbs’ or ‘Sansa needs to lose 10 lbs or ‘Sansa got fat,'” she recalled. “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 and things like that.
“I would just believe it,” Turner continued. “I would just say, ‘Yeah, I am spotty. I am fat. I am a bad actress.’ I just believed it.”
When questioned by Dr. Phil on how the scrutiny affected her mindset going into work the following day, Turner explained that she would get the costume department “to tighten [her] corset a lot.”
“I just got very, very self-conscious,” she admitted. “… I’d be concerned about angles. I’d be concerned about my face. I have a big nose, and everyone used to love to tell me that, so I’d be like: ‘I don’t know how to angle myself.’ It would just affect me creatively. I couldn’t be true to the character because I was so worried about Sophie.”
Turner went on to tell Dr. Phil that her depression led her to be “withdrawn” when she wasn’t filming.
“I had no motivation to do anything or go out. Even with my best friends, I wouldn’t want to see them, I wouldn’t want to go out and eat with them,” she revealed. “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.’”
Thankfully, the star feels “much better” now. “I’ve been doing therapy at CAST Centers, actually. I’m on medication and I love myself now, or more than I used to, I think.”
She credits fiancé Joe Jonas for helping her as well. “I [sometimes] don’t think I love myself at all, but I’m now with someone that makes me realize that I do have some redeeming qualities, I suppose.
“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.”