Sally Field, 70, has shared new details about her battle against depression and bulimia, and how she overcame them with the help of friends and therapy.
US Closer magazine reveals Sally sank into despair soon after landing the titular role as The Flying Nun in 1967. She didn’t even want to take the role, but her overbearing stepfather Jock Mahoney, a stuntman who could be sweet but also volatile, talked her into it.
“He was very nice and proud of me,” Sally remembers. “He said, ‘Sally, you really have to do this.’ I said, ‘I don’t want to, I don’t like it, this isn’t what I want to do.’ He said, ‘Yes, but you may never work again.’”
“That was really the start of Sally developing full-blown depression,” a source tells Closer.
Sally recalls being treated like “a bowl of fruit” by directors and being suspended on uncomfortable wires for hours to film airborne sequences.
The star used food as a solace and became bulimic to lose the weight she gained.
Her co-star Madeleine Sherwood, who played The Flying Nun’s Mother Superior, stepped in and saved the star.
“She realised how seriously depressed I was,” Sally recalls. “Madeleine saw this girl with so much promise being consumed playing a role she absolutely hated.”
Madeleine brought Sally to Lee Strasberg’s famous Actor’s Studio and Sally says, “Something happened there. I’d found my home. It really began to form not only who I was as an actor, but it helped me become who I am as a person, because it gave me the tools so I never lose my own voice.”
Sally turned to professional help to deal with her depression and eating disorder.
“One of the things that saved me was therapy,” adds the actress, who heads to Broadway in February to star in The Glass Menagerie.