Barker, who played Marina Crane across both seasons of the period drama, revealed that she had two psychotic breaks – one after the first season wrapped in 2019 and the second in 2022 – during an interview on Oxford University’s LOAF podcast.
Speaking about the breaks, Barker alleged that she received “no support” from Netflix or Shondaland, the show’s production company founded by Shonda Rhimes.
“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 if I would benefit from any sort of aftercare or support,” Barker said. “Nobody.”
The actor said her character’s isolated nature had a negative impact on her while filming the first season.
“During filming, I was deteriorating,” Barker said. “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 also claims her hospitalisation a week after shooting Bridgerton was “really covered up” so it wouldn’t affect the show’s launch.
“When I went to hospital a week after shooting Bridgerton season one, it was really covered up and kept on the down-low because the show was going to be coming out,” she added.
“In the run up to the show coming out, I was just coming out of hospital, my Instagram following was going up, I had all these engagements to do… 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 act like it was OK and that I could work and that it wasn’t a problem.”
NME has reached out to Netflix and Shondaland for comment.
In an Instagram post from May 2022 (via TheWrap), Barker detailed how she’d been feeling “unwell for a really long time” but thanked Netflix for her role in the series.
“I am in hospital at the minute and I am going to be discharged soon and hopefully get to continue with my life,” Barker wrote. “I was rage-filled, angry, all this intergenerational trauma bundled up inside me.
“I was carrying the weight of the world on my back and now I am at the point where I have a diagnosis.”
Bridgerton was renewed for a third and fourth season by Netflix in April 2021. Earlier this year, a spin-off series was released titled Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story.
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