The Untold Truth Of Shailene Woodley

You may be a fan of Shailene Woodley thanks to the fact that she starred alongside Ansel Elgort in 2014’s The Fault in Our Stars, or perhaps you adored her in the Divergent films. There’s also a chance you watched her hold her own while appearing with A-list actors Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, and Laura Dern in Big Little Lies. With so many memorable roles to her name, Woodley has actually been in the business for longer than you might have imagined.

“I’ve been acting since I was five — I was so young it didn’t matter what I was doing, it could have been gymnastics. I just wanted to try something,” she told Into the Gloss. Noting that acting classes helped her “express [her]self emotionally, to self-critique, and to self-analyze” even “at a very young age,” that might make it sound like Woodley was a rather unique child… which she was.

For instance, Complex explained that Woodley “is a Star Wars super fan and says that, as a kindergartner, she thought she was Princess Leia.” Nowadays, she still stays true to herself, which includes lugging around a mason jar for water wherever she goes, swapping her high heels for Vibram Five Finger shoes at an awards show after-party, and staying relatively private about her apparent engagement to football player Aaron Rodgers. It also includes the following untold truths you may not have known about this authentically unique star.

Shailene Woodley had to wear a brace due to scoliosis

At first glance, it may seem like everything has fallen into place for Shailene Woodley — but when she was younger, something was a little off. Diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 15, Us Weekly reports that the actor “was put in a chest-to-hips plastic brace to straighten her spine.” Woodley herself recalled to WebMD, “We were getting ready to go swimming and I was in a bikini … My best friend was like, ‘Shai, your spine is weird.'”

WebMD also explained that “with scoliosis, the spine can look like an ‘S’ or a ‘C’ from behind. Other indicators include uneven shoulders, a prominent shoulder blade, or an uneven waist.” According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “Roughly 3 million new cases of the condition are diagnosed in the United States each year.” In extreme cases, scoliosis may need surgery, but for the most part, other treatments can be used.

As for Woodley, when her mom took her to the doctor and she was told to wear a brace, she explained (via WebMD), “I laugh under pressure. So I was OK. It wasn’t until the fourth week of wearing a brace that I said, ‘Whoa, this is a bummer.'” Two years later, Woodley was able to get rid of the brace.

The star describes herself as 'an introvert's introvert'

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world had to learn to embrace isolation and keep their distance for the sake of personal and public safety. People like Shailene Woodley used this time to nurture their solitude.

That was admittedly easier for Woodley to do, because, despite being a famous star, she isn’t exactly an extrovert. In fact, she was happy to be “sheltered at home for [a] few weeks, social distancing with no company besides her dog” during the coronavirus pandemic, according to The New York Times. It was apparently “the longest” the star (who was 28 at the time) had “lived in her own home since she was 17.” Woodley explained, “I’m an introvert’s introvert, so this feels like heaven in a lot of ways because I don’t have to talk to people, I don’t have to deal with people, I don’t even have to look at people.”

At the time, Woodley’s film Endings, Beginnings was set for an in-theatre premiere, but like most movies that were facing mass theatre closures, it had to settle for an online release — which put a halt to the usual stream of promotions and events. Granted, Woodley was fine with that, telling The New York Times, “I can play the game of being an extrovert when I need to — it’s a big part of my job — but my happy place is honestly being alone.”

Shailene Woodley's 'eccentric' but heartfelt beliefs

Shailene Woodley has what some would consider to be “eccentric beliefs,” including the fact that “she’s a proponent of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle that involves eating clay, sunning herself between her legs, and not owning a cell phone,” according to Time. But why? Well, she told Into The Gloss, “I’ve discovered that clay is great for you because your body doesn’t absorb it, and it apparently provides a negative charge, so it bonds to negative isotopes.” And if you need some vitamin D, Woodley suggests “spread[ing] your legs and get[ting] some sunshine” to “see how much energy you get.”

Woodley also has some firm thoughts on love, explaining to Time that when it comes to how old one is, “age is one of the hamartias [a flaw likely to lead to a downfall] of modern-day society.” She added, “Love isn’t limited to marriage and sex and whatnot. Teenagers who fall in love — their love is just as real, just as visceral, and just as worthy as that of adults who fall in love.”

As for a possible afterlife, Woodley addressed the fact that she isn’t totally sure what takes place, saying, “I believe in energy, and I believe that we all come from the earth and we all come back to the earth. And then what happens spiritually or mentally or emotionally — I have no idea.” Although she did note that “it’s like what Peter Pan says: ‘To die would be a very great adventure.'”

The actor is big on environmentalism and politics

Shailene Woodley may be a “Hollywood hippie,” according to Vogue, but there’s a lot more to the actor than bare-foot politics. Biography explained that she was in high school when she became interested environmentalism, health, and politics, which is why she founded a charity with her mother called All It Takes, “which seeks to develop young leaders by promoting compassion and providing education on matters of environmentalism and sustainability.” 

Beyond that, 2019 saw Woodley become a Greenpeace Oceans Ambassador. That summer, she joined “an expedition to the Sargasso Sea … to research microplastics and micro pollution,” per Biography. Speaking with Time about the situation, Woodley said, “How is it that a sea so unknown to the world could host one of the largest known collections of micro-sized human-created waste? I try to always remain positive. Even in the most dire of situations, because at the end of the day, what else do we have but hope?”

As a staunch supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, Woodley also served on the board of his national and progressive grassroots organization, Our Revolution. Woodley told Vogue, “What I do feel like I bring, and I think that’s probably the reason why they still have me on the board, is passion and energy and a relentless optimism that I think is really needed when it comes to politics.”

Inside Shailene Woodley's arrest

In 2016, Shailene Woodley made headlines when she live-streamed herself being arrested while protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction, per People. Many stars have been vocal about opposing the pipeline, which poses a threat to the environment, according to The Hollywood Reporter, while “the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Yankton Sioux Tribe, and Oglala Sioux Tribe have fought to keep it from being completed.”

As for Woodley, she faced charges of criminal trespassing and engaging in a riot, which could have landed her behind bars for one month, in addition to her paying a fine of $1,500, according to Vulture. However, she was soon released and struck a plea deal, pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and serving “one year of unsupervised probation.”

Woodley later opened up to Marie Claire about the experience, saying, “I was strip-searched. Like get naked, turn over, spread your butt cheeks, bend over.” She continued, “When you’re in a jail cell and they shut that door, you realize no one can save you. If there’s a fire and they decide not to open the door, you’ll die. You are a caged animal.” Afterward, ABC News noted that she dealt with “symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.” As Woodley told Marie Claire, “There was so much trauma. Mine was like, ‘What do I do now?’ Kind of like a little bit of depression.”

This Hollywood star would rather live in the woods

Considering the fact that Shailene Woodley is willing to fight to protect the environment, it shouldn’t be surprising that, when WWD asked her in 2012 where she saw herself in 10 years, it wasn’t in a pollution-filled city. “I’d like to be living somewhere in the middle of the woods, flying to L.A. when I need to, and balancing my lifestyle of living in stride with the Earth as well as being in this industry,” she admitted. “I think there are ways to bridge gaps between my two worlds: My wild, muddy-all-the-time, no-makeup, no-shoes world, and this world, which is high heels and fancy clothes.”

When she talked to Architectural Digest in 2019, the actor wasn’t quite living in the woods, but she was still focused on having an eco-friendly abode, which is not only “100% solar heated” but also entirely “made from reclaimed or recycled materials.” Calling this “a childhood dream,” Woodley went on to say that she’s “fascinated by all of these kinds of innovative ways to create homes” and the “many unique ways to make our footprint smaller when it comes to the way we engineer … or construct an individual home or even large businesses for that matter.”

Shailene Woodley wears used clothes and no makeup

While Shailene Woodley could wear nothing but designer duds, she’s instead all about donning used clothes — red carpet events very much excluded. As Woodley explained to The Hollywood Reporter, “If I was to show up wearing my five-toe shoes, my Melodia organic leggings, and some hippie top, no one is going to take me seriously … When I go on a red carpet, I’m Shailene, but I’m also Shailene representing a movie. I’m there for my boss, for my employer, so part of that comes with wearing the uniform.”

However, THR noted that “she has her limits,” revealing that fur and diamonds are no-gos, and that the star opts for “minimal makeup,” simpler outfits, and once wore a Navajo pendant at a Sundance premiere. Woodley said of the pendant, “It’s my way of just recognizing spirit — as hippie as that may sound — in an industry where sometimes materialism is the main focus, it’s kind of my way of grounding and remembering what’s important to me.”

Woodley also told Emma Stone for Interview magazine, “I (a) don’t really wear makeup that much anyway, so part of it is just a selfish, lazy thing, and (b) I want to be me.” She added that she “think[s] it’s fun sometimes to dress up … for certain events,” as it makes her feel “like a five-year-old again, wearing [her] Cinderella dress” — but for “events where it’s a more casual vibe,” she said, “I just want to be me.”

The famous figure doesn't watch TV or even have one

Shailene Woodley may have appeared in popular movies like The Descendants and the Divergent series, but she’s also had roles on various TV shows like The O.C., Crossing Jordan, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and Big Little Lies. However, when she was nominated for an Emmy in 2017 for her role on the latter series, she told E! on the red carpet (via USA Today), “I’m a reader. So I always read a book instead of turning on my TV … I actually haven’t had a TV since I moved out of my parents’ house at 18.”

While it might seem odd that a TV star doesn’t own a TV, the lack of the extra screen fits right in with Woodley’s environmentalist and hippie lifestyle. In fact, she revealed in an interview with The Daily Beast that she has a disdain for various gadgets. “I’m not a big technology person … I don’t even have a cellphone!” she said, adding, “There’s a bigger lack of privacy than there’s ever been, but there’s also a bigger lack of camaraderie and community than there’s ever been.” Woodley went on to say, “I’m talking to people more than I’ve ever talked to in my life because I no longer have that crutch. The more you get away from all the technological buzz, the more freedom you have.”

Shailene Woodley could have starred in 50 Shades of Grey

Shailene Woodley may have scored some stellar onscreen opportunities, however, she also lost out on the role of Lucy in I Am Sam to Dakota Fanning, as well as The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen which went to Jennifer Lawrence, per IMDb. She could have played Cosette in 2012’s Les Misérables if Amanda Seyfried hadn’t gotten the role, and she even started filming The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as Mary Jane Watson before being cut.

However, Woodley was the one who turned down the role of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey, which ended up going to Dakota Johnson. “Woodley was an early favorite of [the book’s author EL] James, who was heavily involved in the search, but even though Woodley wasn’t afraid of the nudity in the film’s explicit sex scenes,” something else stood in the way, according to The Hollywood Reporter

When asked in an interview with The Daily Beast about turning down the role, she admitted, “I didn’t want to audition for it. It’s because I had already done Divergent and I knew there was no way I wanted to do multiple franchises at the same time, because that’s crazy, so I didn’t see the point in it.”

The performer once drank because she could barely eat for a film

In 2018, Shailene Woodley opened up to The Sunday Times (via USA Today) about what she went through while filming Adrift, a “true story of survival, as a young couple’s chance encounter leads them first to love, and then on the adventure of a lifetime as they face one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history,” according to IMDb. In order for Woodley to play Tami Oldham, who was stranded at sea for 41 days, she had to take on a very limited diet. 

Woodley explained, “For the last two weeks, I had a can of salmon, some steamed broccoli, and two egg yolks every day.” However, she also said, “I can’t sleep when I’m hungry, so I would have a glass of wine (to fall asleep).” USA Today pointed out that “there is true joy captured in the actors’ eyes” in a particular scene featuring Woodley and her onscreen fiancé, Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin), eating peanut butter from her fingers. She told the outlet “We were both so bloody hungry. The fact that we got to eat just pure salty fat in the form of peanut butter was heaven on Earth. It made that scene very authentic.”

On top of the less-than-enviable menu, the crew suffered from seasickness, which Woodley told USA Today was “good preparation, immediately putting us on our toes, knowing what kind of resiliency we needed to harness” for the film. No doubt!

Shailene Woodley works hard to have fun with her fortune

Shailene Woodley may be a successful star, but she’s also “down-to-earth … especially when it comes to finances,” according to InStyle. Woodley explained, “I was fortunate to grow up in a way that we didn’t have a ton of money, but we never had to worry about not having it. I was very blessed to have that.” 

Describing herself as a “hustler,” Woodley noted, “Obviously my relationship with it has changed a lot and how I identify with it now probably wouldn’t be defined the same.” She went on to explain that she wasn’t driven by the need for a massive amount of money, but was rather motivated by “this idea of the payoff and reward system: I’m going to work really hard, put my nose to the ground, and dig into some effort for a few hours a week in order to get something else that I want.” Indeed, for Woodley, it’s the “play-hard mantra” that rings true for her work ethic. 

So, how rich is this star who works hard to play hard? Well, she has $12 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth, which is definitely enough to play around with.

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