Charlize Theron Says She Became Depressed Filming "Tully"

By Kelly Burch 05/09/18

“I would go home, and I just had no energy. I wasn’t me, and that was the first time that’s ever happened in my career."

Charlize Theron in a scene rom Tully
Photo via YouTube

Charlize Theron says that she developed depression while filming Tully, her new movie that details the trials of early motherhood and postpartum depression. 

“This movie was harder; this was probably the hardest time I had, just because I gained so much weight and was eating so badly that I actually dealt with depression for the first time in my life so that emotional part was just in my body,” Theron told SF Weekly.  

Theron said that her depression included physical symptoms. 

“I would go home, and I just had no energy. I wasn’t me, and that was the first time that’s ever happened in my career,” she said. 

Filming the movie was emotionally trying as well. 

“But the emotional stuff, I couldn’t imagine making this movie for more than the days that we did, because it’s exhausting,” she said. “I admire actors who can stay in that emotional state, because, for me, it’s almost too draining. I show up to work, not having enough energy to do the job, and that’s just my own experience.”

Despite the fact that Theron has played very emotional roles in the past, she said that she normally doesn’t have a problem leaving the role at work, and returning home to her own two children. This time, however, was different.

“I love having that balance, but this one was definitely physically and emotionally much harder,” she said. 

The actress also gained 50 pounds for her role in Tully. She believes the change in diet may have played a role in her depressive state.

"I think a lot of it had to do with the amount of processed foods I was eating and the amount of sugar and I was working with a set of twins on the set, and a 5-year-old and an 8-year-old and I have a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old in the trailer, and I literally went from changing diapers on set to changing diapers in my trailer. It was just nonstop," she told Good Morning America.

Theron has two adopted children: August, who is 2, and Jackson, who is 6. She said that because her kids are adopted, she couldn’t fully relate to her character’s experience with postpartum depression, but she could understand the overwhelming days of early motherhood. 

“I guess, just on the surface, being a parent and knowing what it feels like those first couple of months when you’re just in the throes of the fear of fucking it up and not doing it right and not sleeping,” she said.

“Even though I never suffered from depression or any postpartum, because I didn’t naturally birth my babies, I definitely related to this idea of once you have kids, you definitely question, ‘Am I still who I was, or am I giving that part up forever?’ And I think that struggle was something that I definitely could relate to.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.