After spending more than half her life onscreen, Chloë Grace Moretz revealed why she needed to step away from the spotlight.
The 25-year-old actress opened up about becoming a recluse following an “onslaught of horrific memes” featuring a viral “Family Guy” side-by-side photo comparing her body to a cartoon character’s exaggeratedly warped physique. Moretz said she suffered from body dysmorphia and became “severely anxious” around paparazzi.
“I’ve actually never really talked about this, but there was one meme that really affected me, of me walking into a hotel with a pizza box in my hand. And this photo got manipulated into a character from ‘Family Guy’ with the long legs and the short torso, and it was one of the most widespread memes at the time,” Moretz told Hunger magazine. “Everyone was making fun of my body and I brought it up with someone and they were like, ‘Oh, shut the fuck up, it’s funny.'”
Moretz said, “And I just remember sitting there and thinking, my body is being used as a joke and it’s something that I can’t change about who I am, and it is being posted all over Instagram. It was something so benign as walking into a hotel with leftovers. And to this day, when I see that meme, it’s something very hard for me to overcome.”
The “Peripheral” star added, “I think that body dysmorphia – which we all deal with in this world – is extrapolated by the issues of social media. It’s a headfuck.”
Moretz reached sudden fame after her turn in “Kickass” at age 12. Now, after more than a decade in Hollywood, Moretz said she “basically became a recluse” due to the viral social media backlash.
“It was great because I got away from the photographers and I was able to be myself, and to have so many experiences that people didn’t photograph, but at the same time it made me severely anxious when I was photographed,” Moretz said. “My heart rate would rise and I would hyperventilate.”
In 2018, Moretz shared with IndieWire that she felt compelled to hit pause on her career after realizing that she was “super unhappy with the projects I was putting out.”
“I had a really rough time with the studio system and trying to get questions answered. I was confronted with these aggressively large hurdles and I was like — ‘I’m tired of trying to hurdle a system which is set up for me to fail,'” Moretz said, adding that even her agents thought signing on for gay conversion therapy drama “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” would make Moretz lose her career.
“I was up in the $100-million-dollar studio system, and crashed back down to a barely $1 million dollar movie,” she recalled. “With this amazing script and a character that a lot of people would have shied away from.”