Back in 2017, Sophia Bush (of One Tree Hill fame) left the popular NBC series Chicago P.D., and her role as Detective Erin Lindsey. She stayed tight-lipped on the departure, but on a recent episode of Dax Shepard’s podcast, Armchair Expert, she addressed the decision and offered a lesson on how to manage your own happiness in an unhealthy situation.
After she attended mental health workshops hosted on the platform Onsite, Bush had an epiphany about her life.
“I programmed myself to tolerate the intolerable,” the actress said. “Part of the big break for me [was] saying, ‘No. I don’t necessarily know what it is, but I know that what’s happening is not good for me and everything has to change.’ That was a big cutoff point when I quit my job.”
“I’ve been so programmed to be a good girl and to be a work horse and be a tugboat that I have always prioritized tugging the ship for the crew, for the show, for the group, ahead of my own health,” she continued. “The reality was that my body was, like, falling apart, because I was really, really unhappy.”
Bush went on to say she experienced “a consistent onslaught barrage of abusive behavior.”
As she told Shepard, “When someone assaults you in a roomful of people, and every one literally looks away… and you’re the one woman in the room, and every man who’s twice your size doesn’t do something, you go, ‘Oh, that wasn’t worth defending? I’m not worth defending?'”
Not only was she uncomfortable on set, but she said it was actually painful to film in Chicago. Many of the show’s scenes took place outdoors during the harsh Chicago winter, when temperatures often drop below freezing. Some cast and crew members became sick from being in the cold for long periods.
At the end of Chicago P.D. Season 3, Bush took her concerns about the toxic environment to the show’s producers. She said she gave them 23 episodes’ notice that she’d leave if actions weren’t taken to improve the lives of employees. She departed at the end of Season 4 after she was released from her seven-season contract, so it’s safe to say her concerns were not properly addressed.
This is not the first time Bush has spoken out about unfavorable work situations. In November 2017, former One Tree Hill cast members opened up about sexual harassment they experienced at the hand of showrunner Mark Schwan. Bush has also explained her short marriage to OTH co-star Chad Michael Murray, whom she said she felt pressured to marry.
Bush also lost an ex-boyfriend to an avalanche in 2015, so here’s hoping the future treats her nicely. She’s really had to take a stand in recent years, and while it’s inspiring to see a strong woman take charge of her life and career, she deserves a break, doesn’t she?
Let’s all take note and start owning our lives the way Bush has. Your happiness should come first, or as Bush expressed, your body will begin to fall apart.
Applause to the star for having the guts to speak out.
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