Few young actors have been as consistently booked and busy as Chloë Grace Moretz, who’s appeared in more than 50 films since her breakout role in the “Kick Ass” franchise.
But growing up in the public eye came with a major cost for the 25-year-old star, who said that a “horrific” viral meme comparing an edited paparazzi shot to a “Family Guy” character drove her to become a “recluse.”
“I’ve actually never really talked about this, but there was one meme that really affected me, of me walking into a hotel with a pizza box in my hand,” Moretz shared in a recent Hunger magazine profile. “And this photo got manipulated into a character from ‘Family Guy’ with the long legs and the short torso, and it was one of the most widespread memes at the time.”
Moretz, who’s opened up about being body-shamed throughout her career, said her pain was entirely dismissed by someone who told her to “shut the fuck up” when the meme first surfaced.
Chloë Grace Moretz attends a Louis Vuitton fashion show in 2022. (Photo: Emma McIntyre via Getty Images)
“I just remember sitting there and thinking, my body is being used as a joke and it’s something that I can’t change about who I am, and it is being posted all over Instagram,” she continued. “To this day, when I see that meme, it’s something very hard for me to overcome.”
The experience left her feeling “super self-conscious” and “kind of sad,” especially when it came to going out for public appearances and red carpets.
While Moretz has continued to appear on-screen in recent years in a handful of projects, including “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising,” the 2018 “Suspiria” remake and the LGBTQ drama “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” she “basically became a recluse” in her own life.
“It was great because I got away from the photographers and I was able to be myself, and to have so many experiences that people didn’t photograph, but at the same time it made me severely anxious when I was photographed,” she told the outlet. “My heart rate would rise and I would hyperventilate.”
With therapy and a much-needed career break, Moretz has begun to process her own “self-loathing” and the “jarring shift in my consciousness” about the attention her body has received.
Back in 2016, Moretz dropped out of all her future film roles, including a live-action reimagining of “The Little Mermaid,” to “reassess who I am and find myself within my roles again,” she said at the time.
But she’s back on-screen in a major way with Amazon’s upcoming sci-fi series “The Peripheral” from “Westworld” creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.
“To say that these past two years have been transformative is an understatement, to say the least,” Moretz said about her new perspective. “I’m a very different girl than I was. I feel like a woman now.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.