Bridgerton actor Ruby Barker has slammed Netflix and production company Shondaland for the lack of support she received during filming as she suffered from mental health issues.
Speaking to Oxford University podcast LOAF, Ruby got candid about her experience on set and revealed that she even suffered psychotic breaks from her time on the hugely popular series.
“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 me if I’m okay or if I would benefit from any sort of aftercare or support,” she told the hosts.
Ruby played Marina Thompson, the cousin of the Featherington family who comes to stay with them in order to enter high society. While she’s considered to be quite a catch at first, she soon discovers that she’s pregnant which is a big no-no in Regency-era London, apparently.
On the podcast, Ruby explains that her character’s isolated state impacted her mental health.
“During filming, I was deteriorating. It was a really tormenting place for me to be because my character was very alienated, very ostracised, on her own under these horrible circumstances,” she stated.
“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.
“In the run-up to the show coming out, I was just coming out from the hospital, my Instagram following was going up, I had all these engagements to do…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 ok and that I could work and that it wasn’t a problem.”
She went on to add that she doesn’t want to badmouth the show because she’s aware of the negative impact it would have on her career.
“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 want to come out and poo poo on that because then I’ll never work again,” she said.
It’s not the first time Ruby has spoken out about her mental health. Back in May 2022, she alluded to her struggles and her self-hospitalisation in a now-deleted post on Instagram.
In the clip, Ruby spoke to the camera from the hospital, explaining that she’d been unwell since filming wrapped and that she was taking time out to get better.
“I am going to take a little bit of a break for myself and I would encourage others, if you are struggling, do yourself a favour and take a break. Stop being so hard on yourself,” she said.
“We really need to change the dialogue, the linguistics, of how we talk about mental health. I was rage-filled, angry, all this intergenerational trauma bundled up inside me.
“I was carrying the weight of the world on my back and now I am at the point where I have a diagnosis and I will talk to you about that at another time,” she explained.
Interestingly, in that post, Ruby thanked Netflix, Shonda Rhimes and Shondaland for “saving me and giving me an opportunity.”
PEDESTRIAN has reached out to Netflix for a comment.