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Former Child Star Says She "Became a Recluse" After Jokes About Her Body Spread Online

"To this day, when I see that meme, it’s something very hard for me to overcome.”

She's only 25 years old, but with a career that began in the mid-2000s, Chloë Grace Moretz already has much to look back on—both good and bad. The actor has been working consistently since 2004, when she was seven years old, but just because viewers have continued to watch her on screen doesn't mean that she's handled being a celebrity the same way throughout her time in the spotlight. In a new interview with Hunger, Moretz said that she "basically became a recluse" after a meme making fun of her body circulated online, and that the "horrific" joke was a breaking point between her and fame. Read on to see what the actor said about facing internet ridicule and how she coped.

READ THIS NEXT: How Mary-Kate & Ashley Stopped Elizabeth Olsen From Being a Child Star.

Moretz came to fame as a child star.

Chloë Grace Moretz at the premiere of "The Amityville Horror" in 2005
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shuttestock

When she started acting professionally, Moretz was just a kid. She made a name for herself in projects including the Kick-Ass movies, Hugo, Clouds of Sils Maria, and 30 Rock, among others. Her most recent movies include Mother/Android, Shadow in the Cloud, and Tom & Jerry.

In her interview with Hunger, Moretz shared that she remembers her first encounters with paparazzi happening around the time Kick-Ass was released in 2010.

It is kind of a distant memory, in the sense that I was a kid and 90 percent of the time no one would really bother me," she said. "But after Kick-Ass, the first time I experienced paparazzi, it was 10 to 15 adult guys surrounding a 12-year-old girl." She explained that paparazzi pushed her mom and she fell into traffic. "It's an assault on all the senses, with screaming and flashes. I got into the car afterwards and I just burst into tears. I think that's my marker of before and after."

She dealt with a bout of "self-loathing."

Chloë Grace Moretz at the 2015 People's Choice Awards
Jaguar PS / Shutterstock

Moretz also revealed that, when she was 18, she had an extreme reaction to doing the kind of press she'd been doing for a decade at that point.

"I was 18 and doing a red carpet. I walked off of it and I felt so much self-loathing and was really confused about the experience that just went down," she explained. "I was really unwell after that. There was this complete jarring shift in my consciousness, I questioned who I was. What am I doing? Who am I? Why am I doing this? Like, what does this mean?"

Moretz said that for a while she was able to be one person in her private life and one in public, but eventually they "collided and [she] felt really raw and vulnerable and open."

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She was body shamed online.

Chloë Grace Moretz on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014
Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock

When "horrific memes" about her body began making the rounds online, Moretz was thrown again.

"I've actually never really talked about this, but there was one meme that really affected me, of me walking into a hotel with a pizza box in my hand. And this photo got manipulated into a character from Family Guy with the long legs and the short torso, and it was one of the most widespread memes at the time," Moretz said in the interview.

"Everyone was making fun of my body, and I brought it up with someone and they were like, 'Oh, shut the [expletive] up, it's funny,'" she said. "And I just remember sitting there and thinking, my body is being used as a joke and it's something that I can't change about who I am, and it is being posted all over Instagram. It was something so benign as walking into a hotel with leftovers. And to this day, when I see that meme, it's something very hard for me to overcome."

She "basically became a recluse" after that.

Chloë Grace Moretz at the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock

Moretz continued working after the Family Guy joke surfaced but was determined to live a less public life otherwise.

"I basically became a recluse," she said. "It was great because I got away from the photographers and I was able to be myself, and to have so many experiences that people didn't photograph, but at the same time it made me severely anxious when I was photographed. My heart rate would rise and I would hyperventilate."

She asked her mother for plastic surgery when she was 16.

Chloë Grace Moretz at the 2018 Venice Film Festival
Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock

Moretz has spoken out several times over the years about trying to maintain a healthy body image in Hollywood. In 2016, she told Elle, "When I was 16. I wanted a boob job. I wanted the fat pad under my chin to be removed. I wanted a butt reduction, or whatever. And my mom said, 'Absolutely not, you're not allowed to have plastic surgery.' And because of that, I found a lot of power within my insecurities. They're what make me who I am now."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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