“Bridgerton” actor Ruby Barker called out Netflix and Shondaland for failing to support her during two psychotic breaks that occurred in the wake of the romance series’ blockbuster success. Barker was a series regular during the show’s first season and returned as a guest actor for Season 2. She played Marina, a Featherington cousin whose scandalous pregnancy makes her a social pariah in Regency-era London. Barker said her first psychotic break occurred in 2019 after she wrapped production on “Bridgerton” Season 1. A second one occurred in 2022. The actor said she got “no support” from Netflix.
“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 okay or if I would benefit from any sort of aftercare or support,” Barker said during an interview on Oxford University’s LOAF Podcast (via The Daily Beast). “Nobody.”
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Variety has reached out to Netflix and Shondaland for comment.
According to Barker, her mental health started declining during the filming of “Bridgerton.” She claimed her character’s isolated nature negatively impacted her.
“During filming, I was deteriorating,” she 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.”
“When I went into hospital a week after shooting ‘Bridgerton’ Season 1, it was really covered up and kept on the down-low because the show was going to be coming out,” Barker continued on the podcast. “In the run-up to the show coming out, I was just coming out from 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.”
Barker alluded to her psychotic breaks in a May 2022 Instagram post when she disclosed that she was “really unwell for a really long time” and had been “struggling since ‘Bridgerton.’” She thanked Netflix at the time for “saving her” by casting her in “Bridgerton,” but now she is criticizing the streamer for not supporting her.
“I am in hospital at the minute and I am going to be discharged soon and hopefully get to continue with my life,” Barker told her followers at the time. “I was raged-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.”
Now on the LOAF podcast, Barker said that she had no support from the studios behind “Bridgerton” and had to promote the show through a distressing period of her life. She added, “It’s almost like I had this metaphorical invisible gun to my head to sell this show because this show is bubbly and fun. I don’t want to come out and poo poo on that because then I’ll never work again.”
Watch Barker’s full appearance on the podcast in the video below.
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