Gillian Anderson suffered a series of “mini breakdowns” after portraying FBI agent Dana Scully on The X-Files.
The actress admitted her alien-hunting role took so much out of her she felt her TV and film career was over when the show ended after nine seasons in 2002. She has since returned for a film and two extra seasons, which ran from 2016 to 2018.
“I had a good couple of mini breakdowns during that, and at the end, could not talk about it, could not see it, could not see pictures, could not,” Anderson said during a The Hollywood Reporter actress roundtable.
“I needed to immerse immediately in theatre in another country, and then after a while, I was able to embrace it again, but when I started to embrace it, it was almost like I separated myself so much that I was looking at the image as if it was another person.
“When you immerse yourself so entirely as we can, and we do for such long periods of time, there’s not going to be no consequence to that. Of course, there’s going to be consequence to that.”
The Great Expectations star also struggled when playing the role of Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire on the West End and Broadway.
“I felt like I’d lost my best friend,” she explained. “I was grieving. Some friends of mine in New York had a brunch for me the weekend after (I wrapped my run), and I arrived like a complete wreck.
“It was so profound. I also knew it was unlikely I was going to do it again because I knew that I’d probably lose my mind. I got really close. Like, I’d survived by the skin of my teeth, and if I did it again out of ego or attachment or not wanting to let her go, there would be consequences. So I knew it was the end, and it was so sad.”
– Cover Media