Shailene Woodley on Why She Took a Break from Acting

Though most people don’t think of Shailene Woodley as a child actor, it’s a fair descriptor of the Divergent alum. Woodley started acting when she was only 5 years old and has been steadily building her resume ever since. She’s earned critical acclaim for her work in movies like The Descendants and shows like Big Little Lies. And while the California native has plans to act for the rest of her life, she did take a bit of a break from her craft.

acting star Shailene Woodley wears light makeup and smiles at the camera
Shailene Woodley | Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Shailene Woodley explains why she took a break from acting

But why did Woodley decide to put acting on the backburner for a while? The Endings, Beginnings actor has shared that the final Divergent movie was hard on her spirit. She decided that she needed to expand her world outside of Hollywood and rediscover her passion for acting. The environmentalist also admitted that she desperately needed to spend some time by herself.

RELATED: Shailene Woodley Eats Clay, but How Much Does She Consume?

“I wanted to explore other things and to learn about who I was in my mid-20s because it had been a while since I’d had alone time,” Woodley shared with Magazine C. “I’m not a people person. I really enjoy solitude.” Continuing on, Woodley admitted that when she does entertain, she loves intimate experiences over bigger events with hoards of people.

“I like going to small get-togethers: fewer people in a house with good wine and fun games,” Woodley explained. “I’d take a game night any day over an event or party or a concert. I’m a homebody.”

‘The O.C.’ alum nearly turned down a chance to be a part of the ‘Big Little Lies’ cast

Woodley was certainly enjoying her time away from acting and spending time alone. However, her self-imposed break didn’t last for too long. Though she’d asked her agents not to send her any new material, they broke protocol when Big Little Lies came along. Funnily enough, Woodley initially turned down the HBO drama.

RELATED: Shailene Woodley Swam for 1 Hour Every Day to Prepare for 1 Movie

“There was a point in my life, right before Big Little Lies, where I had hit a wall with acting,” Woodley revealed to NET-A-PORTER. “I felt it was time to do something different. I called my agents and said, ‘Please don’t send me any more scripts; I need to explore other avenues.’ They respected me and didn’t send me anything for almost a year until Big Little Lies. I didn’t know what it was or who was involved, I just said, ‘Thanks, I’m still not interested.’”

The hit HBO drama reinvigorated Woodley’s passion for acting

However, when her agents pushed again, Woodley decided to give the script a read. She immediately fell in love with it. And when her former castmate, Laura Dern, called her and encouraged her to come on board, she decided to end her acting break. Fortunately, for Woodley, working on Big Little Lies was a wonderful experience for her. The show gave The O.C. alum the opportunity to fall back in love with acting. We’re sure her loyal fans are looking forward to seeing what she does next.

RELATED: Shailene Woodley Wore Almost No Makeup in 1 of Her Movies: ‘It Added a Lot to the Film’