Shailene Woodley struggled with a 'very scary physical situation' in her early 20s

"I said no to a lot of opportunities because I needed to get better, and those jobs ended up going to peers of mine who I love," Woodley said.
77th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals
Actress Shailene Woodley attends the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 5, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.Steve Granitz / WireImage

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/ Source: TODAY
By Alyssa Newcomb

Shailene Woodley is opening up about a very serious health struggle she faced when she was in her early 20s that she said got in the way of a lot of opportunities.

The "Big Little Lies" actress, who is now 28, didn't share specifics, but spoke candidly with the New York Times about the difficult time in her life. Woodley said she was battling health issues while filming the "Divergent" series.

"I haven't spoken much about this yet publicly, and I will one day, but I was very, very sick in my early 20s," she said. Woodley described "struggling with a deeply personal, very scary physical situation."

"I said no to a lot of opportunities because I needed to get better, and those jobs ended up going to peers of mine who I love. They went on to a lot of success, but there was a mix of people saying, 'You shouldn’t have let that go!' or 'You shouldn’t have been sick!'"

Woodley said she ultimately had to make the choice to prioritize her health and focus on getting well.

""That was combined with my own internal process of, 'Am I going to survive what I'm going through right now and ever be healthy, or even have the opportunity to work on projects I'm passionate about again because of the situation I'm in?'" she explained. "I was in a place where I had no choice but to just surrender and let go of my career, and it brought out this negative voice in my mind that kept spinning for years and years afterward."

Woodley's new film "Endings, Beginnings," comes out on April 17 on digital and will be available on demand starting May 1. The romantic drama was supposed to hit theaters until the coronavirus pandemic led to the shutdown of all non-essential businesses.