Former ‘Downton Abbey’ star Jessica Brown Findlay has revealed that she’s battled an eating disorder for nearly half her life, in a discussion about body image.

The 27 year old actress played Lady Sybil Crawley in the ITV period drama for three seasons between 2010 and 2012, the role that brought her to stardom, before quitting to pursue a wider career in film, television and the stage.

She is currently starring as Ophelia alongside Andrew Scott in a production of ‘Hamlet’, a piece of work that “explores a lot about mental health”, as she told the Telegraph in a new interview.

Jessica Brown FindlayJessica Brown Findlay opened up about her long-time struggles with an eating disorder

“I've had an eating disorder since I was 14,” Findlay said. “I think we can feed certain ideas of what beauty is and what success is, and I just feel there has to come a time where those aren't the rules anymore.”

She added: “Then we can have a mature conversation about what that is about and about depression.”

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Asked why she had decided to talk about the subject now, she said: “If you are lucky enough to speak and be heard, it might be something that could be useful to others. The more we have brave discussions like that, the easier it is to talk about things, and the less alone we can feel. It's certainly made me feel less alone.”

Her decision came after recently having therapy, and after “looking at myself and deciding I was going to help myself feel safe and good and healthy, and talking about it. I felt so alone for so long, and I just hid. And then I started talking and held my head up and instead of saying sorry decided to tell myself that I matter.”

Essentially, she has learned to distance her talent from her perception about her own body image. “I'm not going to be a better actor if I'm a dress size smaller”.

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