“I have experienced mental illness firsthand, and I’ve seen what it can do to the people around [the sufferers] as well,” the actress told Marie Claire Australia in 2019. “[When I was a teenager] my metabolism suddenly decided to fall to the depths of the ocean and I started to get spotty and gain weight, and all of this was happening to me on camera.”
Around the same time as her cover story, Turner revealed on the “Phil in the Blanks” podcast that social media users were quick to criticize her appearance.
“People used to say, ‘Damn, Sansa gained 10 lbs’ or ‘Damn, Sansa needs to lose 10 lbs’ or ‘Sansa got fat.’ 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,” she explained to Dr. Phil McGraw. “I would just believe it. I would say, ‘Yeah, I am spotty. I am fat. I am a bad actress.’ I would just believe it. I would get [the costume department] to tighten my corset a lot. I just got very, very self-conscious.”
The body image struggles affected Turner’s desire to socialize.
“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 continued. “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.’”
More recently, Turner spoke about how therapy helped her.
“For a long time, I was quite sick with an eating disorder and I had a companion. I don’t know if you know what a companion is? It’s a live-in therapist, who would ensure I wasn’t doing anything unhealthy with my eating habits,” she explained to Elle in May 2022. “One night, I was playing over and over in my mind a comment I’d seen on Instagram. I was like, ‘I’m so fat, I’m so undesirable,’ and spinning out.’ … She said to me, ‘You know, no one actually cares. I know you think this, but nobody else is thinking it. You’re not that important.’ … That was the best thing anyone could have told me.”
If you or someone you know struggles with an eating disorder, visit the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders (ANAD) website or call their hotline at (888)-375-7767 to get help.
Scroll through for more candid quotes from Turner: