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Former TV Teen Idol Says She Was Fired After a "Whole Season of Using" Drugs

Lindsey Shaw just revealed why she was let go from Pretty Little Liars.

Fans of the teen thriller show Pretty Little Liars know Lindsey Shaw best as Paige McCullers. The actor had a recurring role on the buzzy show beginning in the first season, but at the end of Season 5, Paige had an emotional airport goodbye with her on-and-off girlfriend Emily (Shay Mitchell) and left the series. Now, eight years later, Shaw revealed why Paige was written out of the show, sharing that she was let go after producers noticed that she was struggling with drug use and had lost a significant amount of weight.

Now 34, the former teen idol believes that she was fired for her own good. Read on to find out what Shaw had to say on a recent episode of her podcast about dealing with substance abuse, body image, and losing her Pretty Little Liars job, only to be brought back in the final season.

READ THIS NEXT: Former Child Star Says She Was Exposed to Hard Drugs on Set in New Interview.

Shaw used drugs to mask a different issue.

Warning: Explicit language in video above.

Shaw currently co-hosts the podcast Ned's Declassified Podcast Survival Guide, which is about the show Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, which aired on Nickelodeon from 2003 to 2007. Her co-hosts are two of her former co-stars, Daniel Curtis Lee and Daniel Werkheiser. During a recent episode of the podcast, the hosts discussed body image, and Shaw opened up about how her drug use affected her own.

"When I had my drug problem and I was in between working on stuff, I would never have to, like, address my relationship with food, because I was always like, 'Oh, I could always just go get more Adderall and be OK with it,' so it was really hard," she said.

According to Mayo Clinic, Adderall is prescribed to "treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy;" though some people take it without a prescription. One of the side effects is weight loss.

She was fired from Pretty Little Liars.

Lindsey Shaw and Shay Mitchell on "Pretty Little Liars"

Shaw said that amid her drug use, she was fired from Pretty Little Liars by series creator I. Marlene King. Shaw explained that King was clearly concerned about her wellbeing.

"I got basically let go from Pretty Little Liars in Season 5, because of the weight that I had lost, and it was really an embarrassing thing," she said. "I didn't look good too skinny, and then when I started to put weight back on I couldn't handle it being too heavy. So it kind of played into this dumb cycle."

Shaw began to cry and explained of getting fired, "I got called into the Pretty Little Liars creator's office, and she was just like, 'So, we're gonna let you go.' She's like, 'It's not because of your acting.' She's like, 'Do you have anybody to talk to?' And I was like, 'Um, no.' And she's like, 'Well, find somebody, and we have to let you go now.'"

The actor added that her firing was done "with so much care."

Shaw left Los Angeles to get sober.

During a 2020 interview with the podcast Women on Top, Shaw said she left Los Angeles to spend two years with her family in Arizona to work on her mental health and sobriety, including going to AA meetings. She explained that she was abusing "drugs and alcohol."

"I was broken. I was totally broken. And the velocity of me carrying forward trying to just act like I wasn't had stopped," she said. "Even though it felt like death, I had no other recourse. I had to leave. I couldn't leave my house when I was here [in LA] without being wasted … social anxiety was crippling.

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Pretty Little Liars brought her back in Season 7.

Lindsey Shaw on "Pretty Little Liars"

Shaw's character Paige was brought back to PLL in its final season, which she is grateful for.

"It was so lovely of that writing team to see that relationship and that character out," she said on Ned's Declassified Podcast Survival Guide. She added, "I'm just so appreciative for that set and for the character and for Shay and for those people that brought me back."

She's "so much happier" now.

Lindsey Shaw at Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights in 2019
Michael Tran/Getty Images

Shaw noted on her podcast that she "just gave away everything [she] cared about" when she was struggling with substances. She continued, "I just don't know that I've ever gotten back to the point in my career that I was before that talk, that meeting, or that whole season of using … Caring about your body can make you go all different directions, from plastic surgery to drugs to withholding to any kind of [expletive]."

Since Pretty Little Liars, Shaw has appeared in the movies 1/1 and Reboot Camp and in an episode of the series Lucifer.

Shaw said that she realizes now that "you look like what you look like … There are things that I enjoy so much about my body now that I can't put words to." Of her mental health, she said, "For the mental place I'm in now, I'm so much happier."

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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