In an interview with Bustle, the Big Little Lies actress admits she took no delight in propagating the ABC Family drama’s pro-abstinence, sex-shaming messages. “There were a lot of things that were written into the scripts that not just me, but a lot of the cast, disagreed with,” she shares of the show, which was created by 7th Heaven‘s Brenda Hampton. “There were belief systems that were pushed that were different than my own. Yet legally I was stuck there.
“To this day it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do,” she continues. “So being on Secret Life propelled me to be more vocal about my own belief systems.”
In Secret Life, which premiered on ABC Family in 2008 and ran for six seasons, Woodley played a 15-year-old grappling with being a teenage mom. The show’s premise resonated with her — at first. “I read [three] episodes and I signed a contract for six years,” she recalls, adding that those initial episodes “all hit home. I had friends in high school who were pregnant. It felt like everything that I wanted to be sending into the world.”