Bridgerton actress Ruby Barker is opening up about two psychotic breaks she had as a result of the show.
In an appearance on Oxford University’s The LOAF Podcast, Barker revealed the hit Netflix series — based on Julia Quinn novel series — caused her to have psychotic breaks, which were kept quiet so as not to damage the show before it premiered on the streamer in December 2020.
Barker portrayed Marina Thompson, a character who was a main player in season one.
“I was deteriorating,” she explained. “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 shared that her first break came a week after the cast finished filming the first season, and she was checked into the hospital. She was there for about a year, and when she came out, the show was about to premiere.
“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 OK or if I would benefit from any sort of aftercare or support,” she continued. “Nobody.”
As she re-entered life, post-hospitalization, Barker said that her Instagram following was growing, and she had a ton of work engagements tied to Bridgerton.
“My life was changing drastically overnight, and yet there was still no support, and there still hasn’t been any support for that time,” she added. “So, I was trying really, really hard to just sort of act like, you know, this is fine. This is OK. I’m OK. I can work. It’s not a problem.”
At the start of season one, Marina is sent to live with her cousins, the Featheringtons after coming down with a scandalous condition — pregnancy out of wedlock. She and her cousins rush to arrange a hasty marriage to Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) or any other nobleman in the Ton in an effort to cover up her pregnancy.
When her marriage to Colin falls through after he finds out she was using him, she attempts to induce an abortion with a mixture of herbs. The end of the season sees the brother of her baby’s father inform her that he died in the war. Knowing about her pregnancy, he proposes to her, and she accepts.
Elsewhere in the podcast appearance, Barker elaborated on the pressure she felt to pretend like everything was ok following production.
“It’s almost like I had this kind of metaphorical invisible gun to my head to sell this show because this show’s bubbly and fun and all of these things,” she said, “I don’t want to come out and poo poo on that because then I might never work again.”