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"Bridgerton" Star Says Netflix "Covered Up" Her Psychotic Break

Ruby Barker shared that she struggled with her mental health during and after filming.

Bridgerton fans know Ruby Barker as Marina Thompson, the Featheringtons' cousin, who is an outcast due to her upbringing outside of high society and her pregnancy outside of marriage. What fans might not know is that the young actor was dealing with some serious mental health issues during and after filming of the streaming hit. On a new episode of Oxford University's The LOAF Podcast, Barker shared that she suffered two psychotic breaks since working on Bridgerton and claimed that neither streaming service Netflix nor production company Shondaland offered her any support. Further, the 26-year-old claimed that her hospitalization was "covered up" by the companies for the sake of the show's success. Best Life has reached out to Netflix and Shondaland for comment.

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As reported by The Daily Beast, Barker said that she was hospitalized a week after she wrapped filming on Season 1, which aired in 2020, and was hospitalized again in 2022.

"When I went into hospital a week after shooting Bridgerton Aeason 1, it was really covered up and kept on the down-low because the show was going to be coming out," the actor claimed.

"I'm happy to talk about it now," she continued. "Not a single person from Netflix, not a single person from Shondaland, since I have had two psychotic breaks from that show, have even contacted me or even emailed me to ask me if I'm OK or ask me if I would benefit from any sort of aftercare or support, right? Nobody."

Barker added that she felt that she could've used support after she was discharged from the hospital particularly because she was thrust into newfound fame.

"In the run-up to the show coming out, I was just coming out from hospital—because it took like a year in the edit—my Instagram following was going up, I had all these engagements to do," she said. "My life was changing drastically overnight and yet there was still no support and there still hasn't been any support all that time. So I was trying really, really hard to just sort of act like this was OK and that I could work and that it wasn't a problem." She went on to explain, "It's almost like I had this metaphorical invisible gun to my head, do you know what I mean? To sell this show because this show is bubbly and fun, and all of these things. I don't want to come out and poo-poo on that because then I might never work again."

Barker noted that she was "deteriorating" during filming, but that her mental state may have "helped" with her acting, because of the character she was playing. "It was a really tormenting place for me to be, because my character was very alienated, very ostracized, on her own under these horrible circumstances," she said.

Ruby Barker at the Pride of Britain Awards in 2023
Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, in May 2022, Barker posted a since-removed video on Instagram about how she had been in the hospital and was soon going to go home. "I've been really unwell for a really long time, and I just wanted to be honest with everybody. I have been struggling," she said.

Barker cited issues including "all this intergenerational trauma bundled up inside me" and "carrying the weight of a world on my back." The How to Stop a Recurring Dream star continued, "Now I'm at a point where I have a diagnosis and I will talk to you about that at another time. But I have a diagnosis and I am relinquishing myself. I'm forgiving myself and drawing a line in the sand. I can't carry on the way that I've been carrying on. I need to change. So that's what I'm trying to do."

In the video, Barker thanked anyone who helped her to "have a job, work, have a purpose, have a reason, you know, make me feel like I matter." She also expressed her gratitude for Shondaland and Netflix specifically. "I need to thank Netflix and Shonda Rhimes and Shondaland for giving me an opportunity, for saving me."

Barker had a regular role on Bridgerton during Season 1 and a guest role on Season 2. Season 3 will premiere soon, according to Netflix, but a specific release date has yet to be announced.

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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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