Shailene Woodley’s parents weren’t always “on her side” when classmates were “mean” at school.
The 24-year-old actress’ counsellor mother and psychologist father wanted their daughter to understand why people had lashed out at her, and though she “hated” their stance at the time, she now understands what they were trying to teach her.
She said: “There were times in school, when someone said something really mean, it would hurt my feelings, and my parents weren’t on my side. They would be like, ‘I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way, but what do you think that person was feeling?’ Oh, I hated it.
“Now, of course, I understand; it enabled me to recognise that no-one’s evil, they’re probably hurting and can’t express themselves, get no love at home, so it’s repeated. It gave me a broader outlook; just put yourself in another person’s shoes.”
The ‘Snowden’ star insists her family – who frequently allowed runaways or families fleeing violence to stay with them – are her “everything” and she can always rely on them for support.
She told Net-A-Porter’s The Edit magazine: “I came home to things that weren’t great.
“My family is super-f***ed up in many ways, but they are also my everything.
“They would do anything for me, and I would do anything for them. That’s a lot more than most people can say about their families. I’m grateful for the s**t that happened.”
If Shailene and her brother ever argued when they were younger, their “manipulative” parents would force them to spend hours hugging out their differences on the front lawn so neighbours could see.
She recalled: “The whole time you’re just seething, you’re disliking this person with so much energy, but if you let go you have to stay there for an extra hour. That was the kind of reverse, manipulative psychology my parents were into.”
And, possibly as a result, the ‘Divergent’ star finds it difficult if she has to depict anger on screen.
She said: “Don’t get me wrong, I am so angry at the corrupt systems in this world, but yelling or screaming? The last time I got in a big fight was with my boyfriend when I was 17. I would say obscene things and lash out. I was in a toxic relationship. I remember thinking, ‘I never want to be that person.’ “