Shailene Woodley: My Family Is ‘Super F–ked Up’

Shailene Woodley Net-A-Porter
Shailene Woodley in The Edit, Net-a-Porter's online magazine. VICTOR DEMARCHELIER/Courtesy of Net-A-Porter

Family matters. Snowden star Shailene Woodley said in a new interview that her family is far from perfect, but that she wouldn’t trade her nontraditional upbringing for the world because she also knows they would do “anything” for her.

“My family is super f–ked up in many ways, but they are also my everything,” Woodley, 24, told Net-a-Porter’s digital magazine, The Edit. They would do anything for me, and I would do anything for them. That’s a lot more than most people can say about their families. I’m grateful for the s–t that happened.”

Shailene Woodley Net-A-Porter
Shailene Woodley in The Edit, the digital magazine by Net-a-Porter. VICTOR DEMARCHELIER/Courtesy of Net-A-Porter

Woodley’s parents — her father is a psychologist and her mom is a counselor — taught both her and her brother to literally embrace conflict from an early age. When the siblings got into spats as kids, the actress’ parents told them to hug it out for hours on the front lawn in front of the neighbors.

“The whole time you’re just seething, you’re disliking this person with so much energy, but if you let go you have to stay there for an extra hour,” the Divergent star said. “That was the kind of reverse, manipulative psychology my parents were into!”

Shailene Woodley Net-A-Porter
Shailene Woodley on the cover of Net-a-Porter's digital magazine The Edit. VICTOR DEMARCHELIER/Courtesy of Net-A-Porter

At school too, Woodley said her parents’ message was clear: Learn to deal with the negativity by trying to understand the other person’s perspective.

“And there were times in school, when someone said something really mean. It would hurt my feelings, and my parents weren’t on my side. They would be like, ‘I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way, but what do you think that person was feeling?’” she said. “Oh, I hated it. Now, of course, I understand; it enabled me to recognize that no one’s evil, they’re probably hurting and can’t express themselves, get no love at home, so it’s repeated.”

“It gave me a broader outlook: just put yourself in another person’s shoes,” Woodley said.

The actress will next star as Lindsay Mills, the girlfriend of NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, who is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in the Oliver Stone–helmed biopic Snowden.

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