Shailene Woodley became the queen of the young adult movie scene with her roles in the dystopian Divergent film series, the coming-of-age romance The Spectacular Now, and the tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars. But before she was one of the movie industry’s most successful young stars, she scored a number of significant parts on the small screen. The Big Little Lies star began pursuing a career as an actor when she was just 5 years old, telling Into the Gloss in March 2014 that her early career choice taught her how to “express myself emotionally, to self-critique, and to self-analyze.”
Woodley was born and raised in Simi Valley, Calif., where she was discovered by “accident” (via Backstage). A casting director saw her in a local theater show and reached out to her mother, which led to the young actor scoring small parts in commercials and TV series. Her path to stardom was not unlike those of others in the entertainment industry, but her transformation into a sought-after leading lady was distinctive in a number of ways.
Shailene Woodley lost a role because she was a 'late bloomer'
One of Shailene Woodley’s first juicy television roles came on The O.C. From 2003 to 2004, she played Kaitlin Cooper, the preteen sister of Mischa Barton’s character, Melissa Cooper. Kaitlin was absent during the teen soap opera’s second season, but she popped back up in Season 3 with a much different look — Woodley had been replaced by future Arrow star Willa Holland (via People).
During a Wired Autocomplete Interview with her Endings, Beginnings co-star Jamie Dornan from May 2020, Woodley explained why her character was recast. “They needed somebody who had a body that was different than mine,” she said. “But you know what? It’s OK. I didn’t really take offense to it. I was a late bloomer.”
In an April 2020 Instagram post, Woodley provided further reassurance that there were no hard feelings about getting fired because she did not hit puberty soon enough. In the caption of a photo of Mischa Barton hugging her from behind, she described her work on The O.C. as one of her “proudest accomplishments.” However, her fans might argue that some of her post-puberty accomplishments were considerably greater.
Shailene Woodley was diagnosed with scoliosis during her teen years
When she was 15 years old, Shailene Woodley was diagnosed with scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of the spine. While speaking to WebMD, she recalled how she first became aware that something was wrong with her back. She was wearing a swimsuit, and her best friend told her that her spine looked “weird.”
During a visit to the doctor to have her spine checked out, Woodley learned that it was not curved at an angle that required surgery. However, she did have to endure a long and uncomfortable method of treatment. For weeks, she had to keep a back brace on for 18 hours each day. She compared wearing the medical device to having dental braces, saying that she had to periodically visit the doctor to get it tightened. Afterward, she would experience temporary pain due to the change.
Woodley was allowed to remove the brace when she was filming, but it was no longer needed at all by the time she had a full-time gig playing a pregnant teen on the ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
Shailene Woodley lived her own 'secret life' while on hiatus
Shailene Woodley must have felt pretty good after getting her spine straightened out because she took on a second job during a short hiatus from filming The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She told Backstage in 2013 that she decided to seek employment at an American Apparel clothing store in New York because she “thought it would be fun” and give her the opportunity to “live a totally different life.” During a 2011 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, she talked about her job duties. “I was selling hoodies and folding clothes, full time. It was awesome,” she said (per Just Jared Jr.).
It was the type of work that many other teens her age were doing. However, unlike her peers, Woodley had to come up with an excuse to skip one of her shifts when she received an invitation from an Oscar-winning director. She told The Guardian in 2012 that her agent called her on her second day of work to inform her that Alexander Payne wanted to have coffee with her. She faked having the flu so that she could jet off to Los Angeles to meet him.
Shailene Woodley's unique health journey began in Hawaii
Alexander Payne proceeded to cast Shailene Woodley in his critically acclaimed 2011 film The Descendants. The role earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress, but it did not just boost her career. While chatting with Emma Stone for Interview magazine in June 2013, Woodley explained how filming the project in Hawaii impacted her lifestyle. “Honestly, everything changed when I went to Hawaii to film The Descendants,” she said. “We were on these islands for four months. It was at the very beginning of my young adult life, and I think just being connected to nature in that way really reminded me of what life is about — at least for me.”
After the life-altering trip, Woodley began sharing quirky health tips. She said that she ingests clay to detoxify her body, but warned that “your bowel movements, pee, and even you, yourself, will smell like metal” after you eat the earthy snack. Halitosis is another unfortunate side effect, to which her The Spectacular Now co-star Miles Teller can attest. He told Variety in 2013 that Woodley stuffed her mouth with a bunch of “Chinese dirt supplements” that smelled “like crap” right before one of their kissing scenes.
One of Woodley’s other eyebrow-raising tips is to expose one’s nether regions to UV rays to avoid yeast infections. “Another thing I like to do is give my vagina a little vitamin D,” she said. The actor advised her fans to “spread your legs and get some sunshine.”
Shailene Woodley gets engaged to an NFL player who wants to start a family
In April 2020, Shailene Woodley told Bustle that she and her longtime beau, rugby player Ben Volavola, were “very much on the road to marriage and children.” However, she realized that she was not quite ready to make that type of commitment, and they split up shortly thereafter. During an April 2020 interview with The New York Times, she divulged her post-breakup plan “to be single for a while.” But she did not stay unattached for long.
Less than a year later, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers surprised the audience at the 2021 NFL Honors when he thanked his fiancée during his MVP award acceptance speech. While he did not name his bride-to-be, it did not take much sleuthing to discover that he was engaged to none other than Woodley. During an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Woodley hinted that they had already been engaged for quite some time before they decided to share the news with the world.
In an Instagram Live video, Rodgers expressed his happiness over finding love with Woodley, and he spoke about his hopes to start a family someday. According to E! News, the NFL star said that he thinks “it’s going to be so fun” to be a dad, and it’s something that he is really looking forward to. If he gets his wish, it looks like Woodley’s next big role might just be that of a real-life, non-teenage mom.
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