Fighting through the pain. Sophia Bush opened up about her decision to quit Chicago P.D. after realizing it was affecting her health. The actress, 36, joined Dax Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast, published on Monday, December 10, and revealed that after visiting Onsite, a friend’s wellness retreat, she “unpacked” what was going on with herself.
“I realized that as I was thinking I was being the tough guy, doing the thing, showing up to work, I programmed myself to tolerate the intolerable,” the activist stated. After that, she began saying no – and ultimately quit her job on Chicago P.D. “I quit because, what I’ve learned is I’ve been so programmed to be a good girl and to be a work horse and be a tug boat that I have always prioritized tugging the ship for the crew, for the show, for the group, ahead of my own health … My body was, like, falling apart, because I was really, really unhappy.”
Bush went on to explain that the conditions of working in Chicago’s extreme weather was difficult and people were getting sick all of the time. However, the writers in Los Angeles would tell them that the “snow looks so cool on camera.”
The One Tree Hill alum stayed on the show while unhappy because she was worried about the crew and cast that she had grown to love. She explained: “I internalized and sort of like, inhabited that role of ‘pull the tug boat’ to the point where just because I’m unhappy or I’m being mistreated or I’m being abused at work, I’m not gonna f—k up this job for all these people and what about the camera guy whose two daughters I love and this is how he pays their rent? It becomes such a big thing. When your bosses tell you that if you raise a ruckus, you’ll cost everyone their job, you believe them.”
After complaining multiple times, she sat down with her two bosses following the table read of the season 4 premiere. Although she had signed a seven-season contract when landing the gig in 2014, she was ready to go and was giving them an entire season to either change things or find a replacement.
When her bosses told her there was “no way” she’d be able to get out of her contract, she gave them a choice. “I said, ‘OK, you can put me in the position of going quietly of my own accord or you can put me in the position of suing the network to get me out of my deal and I’ll write an op-ed for The New York Times and tell them why,’” she explained before mentioning that former NBC president Jennifer Salke was never alerted of the issues Bush had complained about. When she did find out, Salke was completely understanding and told her they’d never try to force her to stay.
“Nearing my tenure there, I was probably difficult to be around because I was in so much pain and I felt so ignored,” the California native said. She later confessed how she felt toward a coworker: “I feel like I was standing butt naked, bruised and bleeding in the middle of Times Square, screaming at the top of my lungs and not a single person stopped to ask if they could help me.”
When Shepard brought up that she was on a toxic set during One Tree Hill as well with creator Mark Schwahn, she pointed out that the two were “very different experiences,” since Schwahn wasn’t on set with the cast. He was in L.A., while they filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina.
“One was like, a guy who we’re like, ‘Oh God, he’s back.’ And one was a consistent onslaught barrage of abusive behavior,” Bush stated, without naming names. “You start to lose your way when someone assaults you in a room full of people and everyone literally looks away, looks at the floor, looks at the ceiling, and you’re the one woman in the room and every man who’s twice your size doesn’t do something.”
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