Daisy Ridley says Star Wars experience led to ill health

Actor experienced high levels of stress and anxiety which led to ‘a leaky gut’

Nicole Vassell
Friday 24 May 2024 09:02 BST
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Daisy Ridley has opened up about how career success affected her health after she shot to fame with her starring role in the Star Wars franchise.

The British actor made her big screen debut in 2015 as Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first in a new era of the galactic film series that also featured the likes of John Boyega and Oscar Isaac.

Though Ridley, now 32, was thrilled with the opportunity, she also felt significant anxiety and stress after becoming the face of a major film project, and the high level of attention that came with it.

In a new interview with The Times, the actor shared some insight into her experience at the time, and how high levels of anxiety led to stomach ulcers.

“Essentially, it was a leaky gut,” she began, noting that she was “just knackered” while promoting the film.

“I’d never travelled that much, or done press junkets, and my body deals with stress in a very physical way, so my gut was manifesting an emotional reaction to travelling around the world, people saying hello to me in the street. And me going, ‘What’s going on?’ And worrying.”

Ridley then shared that she worried about whether she was the right pick for the role, or whether she was “good enough” – something that she didn’t feel fully confident with until the franchise’s third film in 2019.

Daisy Ridley
Daisy Ridley (Getty Images)

She listed her worries: “‘Oh s***, should it be me?’ or ‘Am I good enough?’ And I only really felt I was by the third film, The Rise of Skywalker.

“By then, I felt, ‘OK, I was chosen for a reason.’ But it took a long time. It was super intense.”

To cope with her feelings of stress and imposter syndrome, Ridley took comfort in focusing on the work she was putting out into the work, rather than the feedback, “because, whether that was positive or negative there was a feeling of vulnerability”.

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She added: “And I have a wonderful family and home life so I could come home and sit with my mum and cuddle the dog.”

In January, it was revealed that Ridley would reprise the role of Rey for a new Star Wars movie, written by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight and directed by Pakistani-Canadian filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

It is rumoured to be titled either Star Wars: A New Beginning or Star Wars: New Jedi Order, and is set to begin filming this year.

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