Mind

Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams opens up about how fame has impacted her mental health

The star admits she no longer wants to be famous. "Honestly, I want a normal life… I don't want any of this crazy, crazy world because it's not worth it."

By Anya Truong-George
As Game of Thrones comes to an end, it's only natural for the stars of the award-winning series to reflect on their time on the show, but not all of it is positive.
While speaking to Fearne Cotton on the UK radio and TV presenter's podcast Happy Place, Maisie Williams, who portrays Arya Stark in the hit television series, was heartbreakingly honest as she opened up about how finding fame through Game of Thrones has negatively affected her mental health to the point where she wishes she was no longer famous.
"Honestly, I want a normal life," the 22-year-old star admitted to Fearne.
"I don't want any of this crazy, crazy world because it's not worth it."
Maisie Williams and her on-screen sister Sophie Turner in their roles as Arya and Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones.
Maisie began filming Game of Thrones at just 13, and just as the television series found immense fame around the world, so too did its stars.
Being constantly in the spotlight from a young age, in a show that receives as much criticism as it does praise was an unimaginable amount of pressure for Maisie, which fed self-doubt and as a result has had a severe impact on her mental health.
"I still lie in bed at, like, 11 o'clock at night telling myself all the things I hate about myself," she heartbreakingly revealed.
"In my own personal life, I think I just went through a lot of real revelations where I was like, 'I'm not very happy doing this and pretending everything is fine,'" she said, admitting she felt like she had to put on a happy face for the public.
"I think there was a period of time where I was very sad, and then I came out of that, and now it's just really terrifying that you're ever going to slip back into it.
"That's still something that I'm really working on, because I think that's really hard. It's really hard to feel sad and not feel completely defeated by it."

While Maisie says it's "impossible to turn a blind eye" to the negative comments and criticisms on social media completely, she says she's trying to be more genuine and "trying to break free" from the feelings of self-hatred the comments provoked.
"Now I've sort of tried to be a lot more genuine and it just becomes a lot more relaxing after that I think," Maisie said.
"You just drop it all and that's where you can really have fun."
Maisie added: "There's still a journey, I think. But at least dropping the act and just being who you truly are, I think that's definitely a step."
Last month, Maisie's on-screen sister and close friend Sophie Turner, also opened up about the impact being a part of Game of Thrones had had on self-esteem and mental health.
Revealing in a candid interview on Dr Phil's podcast Phil in the Blanks, Sophie said the negative criticism and social media trolls took a huge toll on her self-esteem, while admitting she felt her friendship with Maisie was at times "destructive" because they had both been struggling with the same thing at the same time.
Maisie and Sophie are sisters on-screen and best friends off screen. (Image: Getty)
"I've suffered with my depression for five or six years now. The biggest challenge for me is getting out of bed and getting out of the house," the 23-year-old revealed.
"I have a friend, Maisie who was on the show with me, she's just a year younger than me and we were growing up together. She was my best friend, and she was the only one I really told about everything.
"Maisie and I used to do it [stay inside] together. I think being friends with each other was quite destructive because we were going through the same thing. We would get home from set, go to a Tesco, a little supermarket, across the road and just buy food.
"We'd go back to our room and eat it in bed. We never socialised for a couple of years."

With the help from therapy and medication, Sophie says she's feeling a lot better, especially with the support of her fiancé (now husband) Joe Jonas, who has been a huge support to her.
"I love myself now, or more than I used to. I'm now with someone that makes me realise, you know, that I do have some redeeming qualities, I suppose, and when someone tells you they love you every day, it makes you realise why that is, and I think it makes you love yourself a bit more.