“Yes, yes I was on ‘the O.C.’ and yes, it is still one of my proudest accomplishments,” the 28-year-old actress joked via Instagram on Sunday, April 26, sharing a throwback photo of herself and her former costars. “California, here I (can’t) come…”
Before becoming a household name, Woodley had a recurring role on the beloved teen drama as the little sister of Marissa Cooper (played by Mischa Barton). Woodley’s character played only a small part in season one and was only mentioned a few times during the second season of the series. In season three and four, Kaitlin was instead portrayed by Willa Holland.
Five years after her major television debut, Woodley went on to star as pregnant high schooler Amy Juergens in The Secret Life of the American Teenager from 2008 to 2013. During a recent interview with Bustle, the actress reflected on the difficult experience of working on a show with such a particular message.
“When I signed onto Secret Life, I read [three] episodes and I signed a contract for six years,” she said earlier this month. “[Those episodes] all hit home. I had friends in high school who were pregnant. It felt like everything that I wanted to be sending into the world.”
Eventually, however, Woodley started to feel a shift in the way the ABC Family series handled Amy’s pregnancy journey.
“There were a lot of things that were written into the scripts that not just me, but a lot of the cast, disagreed with,” the California native explained. “There were belief systems that were pushed that were different than my own. Yet legally I was stuck there. To this day it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. So being on Secret Life propelled me to be more vocal about my own belief systems.”
Following her long run on Secret Life, Woodley shifted her focus to film and landed huge roles in young adult films like 2014’s Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars. She returned to the small screen three years later, starring alongside Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies.