Ruby Barker is a 26-year-old British actress best known for her role as Marina Thompson in Shondaland’s Bridgerton series on Netflix. She’s been working since her teens and had a big break in the British indie film scene with How to Stop a Recurring Dream, which was released in 2020, the same year as Bridgerton. Ruby has been candid about her mental health struggles, particularly a hospitalization last year, and is currently an ambassador for the organization Wellbeing in the Arts. She appeared on the LOAF Podcast last weekend and revealed that she had another hospitalization back in 2019, right after filming ended for the first season of Bridgerton. She also said that no one from Netflix or Shondaland reached out to her, for either hospital stay, or offered her support in handling the demands of promoting a massive hit. Here is what she had to say:
During the podcast, Ruby said that she suffered two psychotic breaks, including one shortly after filming wrapped in 2019 and another in 2022.
She went on to say she received “no support” from Netflix amid her struggles, nor was there “aftercare” even while dealing with sudden stardom.
“When I went into hospital a week after shooting Bridgerton Season One it was really covered up and kept on the down-low because the show was going to be coming out,” she explained.
“During filming I was deteriorating. It was a really tormenting place for me to be because my character was very alienated, very ostracized, on her own under these horrible circumstances,” she continued.
“Not a single person from Netflix, not a single person from Shondaland since I have had two psychotic breaks from that show have even contacted me or even emailed me to ask if I’m okay or if I would benefit from any sort of aftercare or support. Nobody.”
“In the run up to the show coming out I was just coming out from hospital, my Instagram following was going up, I had all these engagements to do,” Ruby went on to say.
“My life was changing drastically overnight and yet there was still no support and there still hasn’t been any support all that time. So I was trying really really hard to act like it was okay and that I could work and that it wasn’t a problem.”
“It’s almost like I had this metaphorical invisible gun to my head to sell this show because this show is bubbly and fun. I don’t wanna come out and poo-poo on that because then I might never work again!” she added.
I listened to the podcast and it’s unclear what happened exactly – which is her prerogative. It’s hard to know what kind of support the producers could have provided her and to what extent they were aware of her struggles. I fully support her investing in her mental health. In my mid-twenties I picked up my life and moved back home (which was cross country) because something was fundamentally wrong in my psyche. I knew enough to recognize that I was a shadow of myself, and with the support of my family I was able to find people to speak with and activities to engage in that allowed me to find a way back to myself. Good for Ruby for getting the help she needed and for paying it forward through her work as an ambassador.
Photos credit: Liam Daniel for Netflix and via Instagram
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