Claire Foy attends the ‘My Son’ Paris film premiere at Cinema Gaumont Marignan. TNS
Claire Foy has spoken candidly about struggling with her mental health in her 20s and experiencing a “huge anxious spiral” when she moved to London for the first time.
The Crown star, 38, said she did not have “very positive” thoughts about herself or her work, despite being cast in big acting projects early in her career.
In 2008, she made her stage debut at the National Theatre, when she was cast in DNA, written by Dennis Kelly. Foy was later cast as the lead in the BBC’s 2008 adaptation of Charles Dickens’s “Little Dorrit.”
But her early success did not align with what she “believed about myself”, and led to a breakdown, she revealed.
In a new interview with the Guardian, Foy said that although being cast in the BBC period drama was in her “wildest dreams territory”, she “just didn’t believe it was happening”.
“I wasn’t sleeping, wasn’t really eating a lot. When I was at the National, I wasn’t really enjoying my life. All the fundamental things I thought about myself weren’t very positive, and [success] was at odds with what I believed about myself,” she said.
Following her breakdown, Foy’s sister stepped in and insisted she seek a therapist to deal with her mental health.
“He helped me get through it,” Foy continued. “But it was very overwhelming. I felt like I was 1,000 years old.”
The “Wolf Hall” star said she “felt like life was serious” and her career as an actor was not something she could “take for granted”.
“I was like, ‘I don’t even know why I’ve been given this opportunity, and I’m really relieved that I’m not doing that now. It was exhausting.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Foy said she was “very upset” when she found out her The Crown co-star, Matt Smith, earned more than her while they both starred on the highly popular Netflix show.
In 2018, it was revealed that the former “Doctor Who” star had been paid more for his work on the series for his role as Prince Philip, despite it being significantly smaller than Foy’s role as Queen Elizabeth II.
“I wasn’t shocked. I was very upset. Not like, boohoo, crying upset. I was very upset… I don’t think I allowed myself to [express anger],” she said.