Daisy Ridley, famed for portraying Rey in the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy, recently disclosed her struggles with severe anxiety during the filming of the iconic franchise. Recounting the life-altering impact of taking on the role a decade ago, the 31-year-old actress shared insights into the advice she received from “Star Wars” director J.J. Abrams. Abrams emphasized the colossal nature of the “Star Wars” phenomenon, describing it as more than just a movie role but rather a “religion for people.”
Initially, Ridley attempted to downplay the challenges associated with the role, asserting her coping abilities. However, she acknowledged grappling with the dissonance between her perceived normalcy and the external projections placed upon her by fans and the public. The immense fame led her to adopt a self-isolating approach, influenced by the intense pressure and expectations associated with the iconic character.
The toll on Ridley’s mental and physical well-being became apparent when she developed stomach issues due to severe anxiety, notably around the premiere of “The Last Jedi” in 2017. In response to these challenges, she took a much-needed six-month break before returning for “The Rise of Skywalker.”
This isn’t the first time Ridley has been candid about her health struggles. In a 2020 interview, she detailed how her body was not absorbing nutrients, resulting in significant weight loss and fatigue. Ridley attributes the forced hiatus brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic as a critical period for reflection, allowing her to process the challenges she faced during the intense “Star Wars” experience.
“After the last ‘Star Wars’ came out and everything was quiet, I was like, ‘What the f—?’ I was grieving,” Ridley expressed, recognizing the unexpected benefits of the lockdown. The period of stillness provided her with an opportunity for self-reflection and to address unresolved emotions.