"I was throwing myself into work to deny my depression, and how upset I was."
Kaley Cuoco says she entered therapy while filming the second season of her HBO show "The Flight Attendant."
The shoot coincided with a challenging time in her life. In September 2021, she and her husband, Karl Cook, filed for divorce after three years of marriage and finalized in June 2022.
"It was one of the hardest years of my life. Not only personally, but doing this character that was so tormented," she said in an interview with Variety. "It was the first time that I started therapy — I’ve been very open about that. I started at the beginning of Season 2, just because I was going through so much right before we started shooting. It was horrible."
"And I developed a stress rash that ran all the way down my body for three straight months that wouldn't go away," she recalled. "I literally, like, had fire on my leg for three months. I could barely walk."
"It was really a super dark time," Cuoco continued. "I just didn't know how to deal with it. I was throwing myself into work to deny my depression, and how upset I was. Unfortunately, the character was so depressed that it wasn't helping me! I was really, really, really struggling. A lot of tears."
Kaley also shared that her heartache helped her access the emotions she was meant to feel while portraying her character on the HBO show.
"It was so life-imitating-art at certain moments that it was eerie," she explained. "I truly feel like the pain I was going through, a lot of that was real on camera. The scene where I break up with Marco — I mean, I could not breathe. I just went in the bathroom, and I literally thought I was going to have a panic attack. Not that what happened to them happened to us. That's not what I'm saying. It was just the whole idea of the breakup, and saying the words."
The "Big Bang Theory" alum revealed "couldn't even run the lines" due to a build-up of emotions and shared that she knew "the minute those words were going to come out of my mouth, I knew I was going to be a mess."
She said, "I would just be crying for hours. I was so connected to this, and obviously dealing with so much."
Cuoco eventually realized that she needed to be honest with herself about her divorce and how it was impacting her daily life. Although she was reluctant to ask for help, she felt she was out of options.
"One month in, I had an intervention on myself in my trailer — all my producers were in there," she recalled. "And I said, 'I need help.' It was interesting to say that out loud. And to have everyone be like, 'Yes, we want to help!' I’m a working woman, and so independent, and I really take pride in being able to do everything. Well, this time, I literally couldn't."
Although her work hadn't given her the solace she craved, Cuoco revealed that she's "so much better now" and is optimistic for the future.
"I came out of it a couple months ago, and life totally flipped upside down," she referenced her depression. "Everyone kept saying there’s going to be a light at the end of this tunnel, and I didn't believe it until it happened. And now I can tell other people that have the worst years of their life: It's gonna get better."