The sad reason Keira Knightley almost quit acting

2 min read

"My world crashed when I was 22."

From big-budget blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean and forever-memorable rom-coms like Love Actually to critically-acclaimed dramas like The Imitation Game, Keira Knightley has been lighting up our cinema screens for over a decade now.

But there was a time when everything took such a heavy toll on her that she very nearly gave up on acting.

Speaking to Balance magazine, Keira reveals that the period between 19 and 23 was something of a "big blur" and that acting - she had already appeared in over 20 movies at that point - had taken a big toll.

The intense spotlight during what is normally a period of much personal growth lead to Keira having a "mental breakdown".

“Like most young people, I hadn’t quite found who I was or what I was about. My body was changing, and I didn’t even know how I felt about myself and what I looked like.

"Yet all of a sudden, people were being very vocal with their views on me as a young woman and as an actress. I lost confidence in myself because I was made to feel that I didn’t deserve to be doing what I was doing.

“Looking back, that whole period between 19 and 23 is a big blur.

“I don’t remember it in a linear way because I think my coping mechanisms were kicking in and shutting a lot of it out.

“My world crashed when I was 22. Everything stopped working and I felt as if I was broken into tiny pieces; as if my brain was literally shattered.”

Following this breakdown, Keira took a long break from all things Hollywood and did what every young person did in their early 20s - travel and assess their lives.

“I just took a year out, travelling around. There was a very big question mark over whether I was ever going to go back to work, but I’ve always loved acting; it’s just everything else that comes with it that I was struggling with.”

While acting was still her passion, it was a struggle for Keira to return to the spotlight. 

In order to handle everything in a healthy manner, the actress decided to undergo therapy to help her with the stresses of her profession.

“There was no way I was going to be able to get on the red carpet without having a f***ing panic attack.

“So I had hypnotherapy and it worked. Thankfully, I haven’t had that feeling for a long time.”

We're just glad to hear that Keira is now in a much better place than where she was back during her 20s.

Here's hoping that she continues doing what she loves and in a healthy, measured way because we simply can't get enough of her on the big screen.

Image Credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty Images


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Written By Alexander Pan