British actress Ruby Barker, who plays Marina Thompson on the hit Netflix bodice-ripping period drama Bridgerton, has taken to Instagram to reveal that she too is not immune to the struggles of mental health.
Posting a video shot while in hospital, Ruby revealed that she sought professional help because she wanted to heal “intergenerational trauma bundled up inside,” and added that she has been “really unwell for a long time,” but noted that these days she’s feeling better.
“I just want to be honest with everybody, I have been struggling,” she said in the IG video. “So, I’m in the hospital at the minute, I’m gonna get discharged soon and hopefully get to continue with my life and I’m gonna take a little bit of a break for myself.”
“And I want to encourage others, if you are struggling, please do yourself a favour: take a break, stop being so hard on yourself,” she urged her 232,000 followers. “And people used to always tell me not to be so hard on myself, and I never really, really knew what that meant.”
Noting that she was feeling “rage-filled, frustrated, angry” due to the aforementioned intergenerational trauma, she continued, “I was carrying the weight of the world on my back,” but she stopped short of naming exactly what she was hospitalized for and declined to name her diagnosis.
“I’m at a point where I have a diagnosis, and I will talk to you about that at another time,” she said. “But I have a diagnosis, and I am relinquishing myself and 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.”
She thanked her friends and mentors, but also she profusely thanked Netflix, Shondaland, and Shonda Rhimes specifically “for giving me an opportunity, for saving me,” although she didn’t qualify what that meant to her.
She has, however, previously spoken about how, as a woman of colour, being cast in a period drama by Rhimes was something that was monumentally important to her.
“I’d seen Belle, the film about Dido Elizabeth Belle, who was a mixed-race aristocrat in the Georgian period of time. I saw that film and was like, ‘Wow, it would be so amazing to play that character but it’s already been made, I’m probably not gonna be in a period drama simply because of my race,’” she told The Daily Mail last year. “Then obviously, getting the casting [details] through from Bridgerton and seeing it’s a Shonda Rhimes thing, that diversity is the main objective of the show — it was just amazing to be a part of it.”
Shonda Rhimes is the creator of Bridgerton, and the show is produced by Shondaland and Netflix. Ruby’s character Marina Thompson is a cousin of the Featheringtons and made her debut in season 1 back in 2020 as a potential love interest for Colin Bridgerton. Due to the character's her hidden pregnancy, their relationship played out more like a scheme than true love. In season 2, she made a brief appearance to catch up with Colin and tell him she's happily married to someone else.
Stating that a bout with Covid-19 and her mental health struggles led to her dropping out of London’s West End production of Running With Lions, Barker signed off her emotional video by saying she couldn't wait to get back to acting.
"I cannot wait to fulfill all of my engagements and to have a good career and a good life. Because I do not want my diagnosis to be a self-fulfilling prophecy."
Ruby captioned her post with a note that echoes the sentiments she expressed in her nearly six-minute address. “Mental health week is every week for me,” she wrote (the post comes the week after Mental Health Awareness Week in the U.K.). “Off my chest. I feel like I’ve not been completely honest so this is for my followers. Time to be transparent. I’ve been struggling since Bridgerton, this is the truth. Thank you all for supporting me, your love holds me up. #mentalhealthawareness”
Her post prompted fans and celebs alike to flood her comments section. BBC presenter Natalie O’Learly commented with a seres of heart emojis as did British personality and Celebrity Big Brother housemate Kerry Katona. Musician Sexton commented, “I love you so much for this I’m so sorry for late reply!!! Keep shining beautiful I’m learning all of us with a lot of talent have been very hard on ourselves at some point but I learned to switch up my perspective and it took the weight off my shoulders. Love you.”