Shailene Woodley Reflects on 'Darkest, Hardest Time' of Her Life After Aaron Rodgers Split

Shailene Woodley filmed her latest project while going through the "darkest, hardest time" in her life, the Big Little Lies star said in a new interview. She was referring to her split from Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The two got engaged in early 2021 but split a year later.

"It was hard to film because I was going through the darkest, hardest time in my life; it was winter in New York, and my personal life was s—y, so it felt like a big pain bubble for eight months," Woodley told Porter of working on the new series Three Women. "I was so grateful that at least I could go to work and cry and process my emotions through my character."

Woodley, 31, recently completed Three Women, a new series for Showtime that also stars Blair Underwood, DeWanda Wise, and Betty Gilpin. It is based on the 2019 book by Lisa Taddeo about a group of women from different backgrounds whose lives are about to be dramatically changed. Woodley plays Gia, who travels across the country to her stories from a wife whose husband won't kiss her (Gilpin), an entrepreneur (Wise) in an open relationship with her husband, and a student (Gabrielle Creevy) who realizes her high school teacher has a sexual interest in her.

"I found a lot of comfort and inspiration from Lisa, in being more available to my emotions and willing to share them a bit more; I'm still working on it," Woodley, whose character is inspired by the author, said. "It's hard if you haven't been conditioned or raised that way, and it's almost like I felt I found permission via Lisa/Gia to be more [of] an outwardly emotional creature."

Elsewhere in her Porter interview, Woodley said she was "so excited" to let go of many of the things that controlled her in her 20s and "really experience the joy of life" in a way that was difficult for her before. Life is now "controlled by the way you were raised instead of the identity that you create as your own person," she said.

Woodley and Rodgers, 39, were linked in July 2020. In February 2021, Rodgers thanked an unknown fiance during the NFL Honors ceremony. Woodley confirmed she was who he was referring to when she showed off the engagement ring on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. By February 2022 though, their engagement was off. Although they attended a wedding together, sources later said the relationship was completely over.

The relationship with Rodgers inspired Woodley's departure from Instagram last year. Before they dated, it never occurred to her that millions of people would care what she was posting. "Then, I dated somebody in America who was very, very famous," she told Porter. "It was the first time that I'd had a quote-unquote 'famous' relationship, and I watched [the] scrutiny, opinions, the desire for people to know my life and his life and our life – it just felt violating in a way that, before, it was fun. I'm a very private person, and so I found that any time I posted anything, I instantly felt like I was sharing too much of who I am with people I didn't necessarily trust."

Woodley rose to fame on The Secret Life of the American Teenager and earned her first Golden Globe nomination for The Spectacular Now. She earned another nod for Big Little Lies. Her next movie, Misanthrope, will be released this year. Woodley also stars in Michael Mann's epic racing film Ferrari, starring Adam Driver as Enzo Ferrari. Showtime has not set a premiere date for Three Women yet.