While filming season 2 of HBO’s The Flight Attendant, Kaley Cuoco found herself asking for help while struggling with post-divorce depression – and opening up about her trauma led to an unexpectedly cathartic moment.
If you’re the kind of person who finds it difficult to open up when something is worrying you, you’ll know that it can be stressful and isolating keeping everything bottled up. While there are ways and means to become more comfortable sharing your feelings, there’s no denying that talking about what’s on our mind can improve both the relationships with those closest to us and our own mental health.
What can be especially tricky, though, is communicating when issues in our personal lives are impacting how we perform at work. Whether dealing with sickness, grief, heartbreak or stress, it’s completely normal that we’ll have days when holding it together simply isn’t an option. What is important, though, is being honest about what’s going on in our lives, so those around us have a chance to offer their understanding and support.
That’s exactly what Kaley Cuoco did when she found herself going through a turbulent period in her personal life. In a moving new interview with Variety, the star of HBO Max’s comedic thriller The Flight Attendant recalled how she plucked up the courage to ask for support while filming the second season of the hit show.
Reflecting upon how tough it had to continue acting while processing her divorce from ex-husband Karl Cook, Cuoco explained that she considers it “one of the hardest years of my life”.
“It was the first time that I started therapy – I’ve been very open about that,” she began. “I started at the beginning of season two, just because I was going through so much right before we started shooting. It was horrible. And I developed a stress rash that ran all the way down my body for three straight months that wouldn’t go away. I literally, like, had fire on my leg for three months. I could barely walk.”
Cuoco went on to explain that moving in with her co-star Zosia Mamet helped ease the burden.
“I really needed someone with me,” she continued. “I was really losing my mind. And then so many of these scenes were so hard to do because they were so hateful, so sad, and so dark, and there wasn’t a lot of levity.
“She had an Airbnb, and it only lasted so long. And I was like, “Why don’t you just move in with me?” Like, it was the loneliest I’ve ever felt, and I am not really someone to share that.”
Things continued to worsen for the actor though, who shared the precise moment she realised she needed to communicate to her production team that she was struggling.
“One month in, I had an intervention on myself in my trailer – all my producers were in there. And I said, ‘I need help,’” she explained.
“It was interesting to say that out loud. And to have everyone be like, ‘Yes, we want to help!’ I’m a working woman, and so independent, and I really take pride in being able to do everything. Well, this time, I literally couldn’t.”
Cuoco also recalled how her divorce proceedings were emotionally triggering.
“Going through my divorce, it was really a super dark time. I just didn’t know how to deal with it. I was throwing myself into work to deny my depression, and how upset I was. Unfortunately, the character was so depressed that it wasn’t helping me! I was really, really, really struggling. A lot of tears.”
The actor, who has been nominated for outstanding lead actress in the 2022 Emmys for her role as Cassie Bowden, also reflected upon how being honest with her director, Pete Chapman, about her feelings and communicating how the crew could best accommodate her, helped her immensely during filming.
“The episode that I submitted for [the Emmys] was episode five, with that beach scene,” she continued.
“My director, Pete Chapman, came up to me the day before, and he was so lovely. He’s like, “How do you want to shoot this tomorrow?” I said, “Can you just, like, put cameras around the beach, and just start rolling?” And for two hours, I just cried. Like, I screamed, I cried, I sat there, I was quiet. I lay down; I stood up. I mean, it was amazing. Who gets to have that opportunity? And I needed that for Kaley, and I needed that for Cassie, and it worked all in one.”
Moral of the story? Tough times are inevitable. But letting other people in when we need it most really does have the power to help us heal.
Images: HBO Max; Sky
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