Shailene Woodley reflects on Aaron Rodgers split: ‘Darkest, hardest time in my life’

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Aaron Rodgers and Shailene Woodley were engaged for a year before breaking up for good. (Photo: Aaron Rodgers via Instagram)

Shailene Woodley opened up about ex-fiance Aaron Rodgers for the first time since last year’s breakup, saying she learned a lot from her first “celebrity” relationship. In an interview with Doormanthe Big little lies star said the public’s interest in their romance felt “violating”, especially on social media.

“It honestly never really dawned on me that millions of people around the world were watching and paying attention to these things. Then I dated someone in America who was very, very famous,” she explained. “It was the first time I was in a quote-unquote ‘famous’ relationship, and I was watching [the] control, opinions, the desire for people to know my life and his life and our life – it just felt like an offense in a way that used to be fun.

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Woodley joined Instagram in 2016 and mostly posted about politics and various passions. When she and the Green Bay Packers quarterback got together in 2020, social media became a different place. Woodley’s posts came under scrutiny throughout their years of romance.

“I’m a very private person, so I found that every time I posted something, I immediately felt like I was sharing too much of who I am with people I didn’t necessarily trust,” she added.

Rodgers, 39, and Woodley, 31, began secretly dating during the pandemic. Weeks after the public got wind of their relationship, the two revealed that they were not only dating, but also engaged. In February 2022, Yahoo Entertainment confirmed that the couple had called off their wedding. They were still spotted together after the failed engagement made headlines. They reportedly ended things for good that spring.

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Woodley threw herself into her work during filming Three Womenan upcoming show based on Lisa Taddeo’s New York Times bestselling study of women’s sex lives in America, while her personal life was in turmoil.

“It was hard to film because I was going through the darkest, hardest time of my life; it was winter in New York and my personal life sucked, so it felt like a big pain bubble for eight months,” recalled Woodley. “I was so thankful that I could at least go to work and cry and process my emotions through my character.”

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The actress has since removed Instagram from her phone. Woodley said she’s focusing on being more present and already enjoying the inner peace that comes with age.

“I’ve always loved getting older, but it’s almost like I feel an exhale; I’ve waited so long to experience that I don’t care what other people think of me and my life and the choices I make make,” she explained. “I’m so excited to continue letting go of so many things that controlled me in my twenties; to really experience the joy of life in a way that when you’re younger is harder to experience – because it’s controlled is through the way you were raised rather than the identity you create as your own person.”

MORE: Aaron Rodgers and Shailene Woodley split after a whirlwind engagement

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