Shailene Woodley Blasts ‘Twilight’ as ‘Unhealthy, Toxic Relationship’

Shailene Woodley
Moses Robinson/Getty Images

Shailene Woodley is in the spotlight with her “Divergent” coming out this month, and she used that attention to voice her concerns over the “Twilight” books/films.

“‘Twilight,’ I’m sorry, is about a very unhealthy, toxic relationship,” the 22-year-old star said in the April 2014 issue of Teen Vogue.

“She falls in love with this guy and the second he leaves her, her life is over and she’s going to kill herself! What message are we sending to young people? That is not going to help this world evolve,” she continued.

She’s not the only celebrity who has made their dislike for “Twilight” vocal. Stephen King called the series “tweenager porn,” and “The Vampire Chronicles” author Anne Rice took a jab by saying her creations would “feel sorry for vampires that sparkle in the sun.”

Woodley is about to join “Twilight” star Kristen Stewart in a group of young actresses whose career get a serious boost from starring in young adult novels-turned movie series with her starring role in “Divergent,” adapted from Veronica Roth’s hit book series. The film hits theaters March 21.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 63

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Emily says:

    I totally agree! I’m only just starting out as a teen, and I’m thankful my role models are girls like Hermione, Valkyrie, Katniss and Tris – not Bella!

  2. Well I used to like Shailene Woodley but now after this I hate her! How disgraceful

  3. lollywanilla says:

    I guess it’s “secret life” that’s gonna make our wonderful world evolve. “Divergent” has gotten wonderful casting, but with shailene, I’m sorry the whole thing is ruined.
    Shai, you’ve got this great brain to think “Divergent” as gotten a guaranteed ticket to box office sucess. Well, let me tell you, the successful ones didn’t even know they were going to be.
    I’m really afraid for this movie. But Shai, you need to shut the hell up before your movie’s out!

  4. Jane says:

    All I know is Shailene’s gonna have to do some serious PR damage control before that movie comes out next week.

  5. Leah says:

    People do realize that Twilight along with its characters are fiction right? Your not suppose to actually idolize the characters because they are fictional, just like the harry potter, hunger games and divergent characters. Its obvious that the only reason she brought it up was for attention, because there was no need. She should take notes from successful franchise actress such as Emma, Kristen and Jennifer, they don’t have to slam another series to promote their movies. Unlike The Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy and Beautiful Creatures cast whom dissed Twilight, look how well their movies did, they bombed and don’t even have promises of sequels. This is just another very young actress that thinks she knows what shes saying and will end up regretting it all when shes older. Stop acting like your 30 when your 22 hun!

    • Emily says:

      Well, thousands of girls around the world idolise the strong female role models in their books, and for some reason Bella is seen as ‘strong’.

    • Jesse says:

      Well, speaking of people who don’t act their age, it seems like you’re even worse than the actress you accused. I doubt this came up out of the blue, she was likely asked about books like the one her film is based off of, but Twitards like you are so blind to what a shitty book it is (y’know, like how good books and stories help instill good values and qualities in their readers and make them think, not do the opposite like Twilight does) that youll make baseless attacks on it to try and justify what utter shit it is.

      Also, their are many successful people who dissed Twilight and have “lived to tell the tale”. Like the successful and superior authors mentioned in the article? It’s okay, I know it’s hard for some reads to retain that kind of information when they read.

      And lastly your =/= you’re.

  6. Annabelle says:

    I find it funny that a girl who starred in a tv series based on getting pregnant in high school and lying to your parents can say “What message are we sending to young people?” Twilight was a fictional book, I don’t think young people are going to fall madly in love with any vampires. Which brings me to my next rant.
    “She falls in love with this guy and the second he leaves her, her life is over and she’s going to kill herself!” In the second Twilight book New Moon, she does not try to kill herself, when she gets a adrenalin rush she imagines Edward, either talking or actually there. Her jump off the cliff was the only time she almost died, and she wasn’t meaning to. She did give up when she couldn’t fight it anymore, to me those odds of surviving would probably cause me to give up! Anyone who read the book or watched the movie knows this.
    (P.S. sorry for any spoilers to anyone who hasn’t read or watched the movie!)

    • Jesse says:

      When the huge muscular guys who cliff dive on a regular basis tell you not to do it because it is way too dangerous and you do it anyway, you’re not only suicidal, you’re a fucking moron. Face it, it’s not romantic, it was pathetic.

  7. Christy Pritts says:

    Guess all of the high schools should toss Romeo & Juliet out of their curriculums then.

  8. She’s got a whole fat lot of room to talk! Because of course “Secret Life of the American Teenager” was a wholesome healthy show about a teenager getting knocked up at 14 or 15 years-old. And every character on the show was having sex with someone or contemplating having sex with someone and in many cases it was someone with whom they shouldn’t have been involved because they were already involved with someone else. Glass houses and stones people, glass houses and stones!

  9. Faith says:

    I completely understand what she’s saying, and I agree. But she also just came off a TV show all about teen girls having sex and having babies…including a Christian who decided to just “give in”. Well, not all Christians just “give in”, and I don’t think teen girls should be having babies. So I see what she’s saying but she doesn’t have much room to talk. She said “What kind of message is that sending to young people?” I ask her the same about her show. I realize there were statements like “teen pregnancy is 100% preventable.” but still.

  10. Onion says:

    I thought everyone was over Twilight at least a year ago?

  11. Nate Rothman says:

    It’s always nice to see when somebody recognizes Twilight for the horrible quality of the writing and awful messages it sends. If the fad doesn’t pass, and this may sound fascist, I think schools should ban the series. Not just cause I think it’s crap, (which it is.) But because of the terrible messages it promotes. She only listed one of them.

  12. Sue McGee says:

    YESSSSS, Tabitha!!!! You said it all!

  13. Tabitha says:

    It is a movie! This girl is so silly. She auditioned for the part of Bella, did she not? Her “show” she was in, was an overrated, glamorized piece of trash that attempted to make teenage motherhood look like some glossy experience. You’re 22 honey. Go get some life experience, and stop thinking everybody lives by the examples of fictional pieces of literature.

    • Dustin says:

      People do live by the examples of fictional pieces of literature. She’s just saying a girl who wants to kill herself because her boyfriend left isn’t a good role model. Twilight fans are the worst. If there is one thing said that doesn’t praise it they jump on the defensive. If her show was about the protagonists committing suicide when they get pregnant then I’d see the hypocrisy. You’re the worst Tabitha. Time to take down your Bella and Edward posters.

      • guest123 says:

        @Jesse sitting around for months does not mean she was trying to kill herself, she was depressed/heartbroken.

      • Jesse says:

        I don’t know where this guest123 is getting at, but clearly they were not reading the same “book” at most sane folks suffered through. She literally sat around for MONTHS and barely moved or did anything. She’d basically given up on life before getting her crazy ideas.

      • guest123 says:

        Bella does not want to kill herself when Edward leaves,she was heartbroken when he left. The relationship between Edward and bella is only part of the story.

  14. Angela says:

    everyone needs to get over it and move on

  15. Secret Life of An American Teenager was a Teenager dealing with pregnancy. The majority of teenagers in today’s age have sex, better o let them see real world scenarios, even if there are “bad” things in them. That stuff actually happens, well a lot of it does. Jumping off a cliff because your boyfriend left you, girls should not do that., hell if wolf boy hadn’t been there she would have died. The relationship in that series was just as Shailene described it, and I don’t care if you’re a fan of twilight or not, you should know that young women should be influenced by strong, independent female characters. Smart characters, like Hermione Granger, Arya Stark, and Hazel Grace Lancaster.

    • therealeverton says:

      Hold on, so your saying there are teenagers having sex, but none going to pieces because the guy/girl they thought they were in love with broke up with them? Also that it is good for them to see bad thing, but somehow seeing a bad reaction to a break up is NOT OK, despite your opinion that teens should see thing “…even if there are “bad” things in them”?
      which is it? They should see bad thing, or the shouldn’t? They shouldn’t see attempted suicide because that never happens in real life? Except it does. Adults have that reaction (oh and murder) to break up, Teenagers are hardly more mature and better able to deal with stress than adults. Plenty of teens are in hospital right now, easily, because of bad reactions to break ups. The film, which it seems neither she, nor you, have actually watched makes it very clear this is a bad thing AND on the extreme end of things; and as you say, werewolf won’t be around to save you, so you’d better not be stupid enough to try suicide yourself.

      • Jesse says:

        The difference is in the way it was portrayed in these books. They portrayed Bella’s descent into madness like it was NOT a bad thing, which is beyond crazy.

      • Dustin says:

        What does all that even mean?

  16. Isabella says:

    Yeah, hooking up with your teacher (cough… Divergent… cough) is sooooo healthy! Note the heavy sarcasm…

    • lollywanilla says:

      Yeah, Isabella. I think the relationship with four was the most healthiest. And giving birth to John in high school is the very best message the world can get to evolve. We need to cough more these days.

    • Dustin says:

      SUICIDE….. she’s saying SUICIDE is bad. Good Lord.

    • Uh…He’s only two years older than her. Yes, he’s technically her instructor, but as a way of helping her assimilate to the culture. Comparing him to a teacher in our world is a bit of a stretch…

  17. Eckland says:

    I hate Twilight. But honestly, that’s the despair that all teenagers feel during a break up. It’s necessary to include these feelings in the series.

    • Hannah says:

      Sure people feel alone, but to be depressed and like a robot for 4 months and not socialize with people is ridiculous. That’s super unhealthy.

  18. Kytsora says:

    I agree, that’s what it’s about.

    But at the same time, regardless of the messages, it’s entertainment. That’s all it boils down to. All you can do for preteens and young teens is to basically make sure they know right from wrong, and what to look for in bad relationships. You’ll never escape bad writing, but when there is an overwhelming amount of people who enjoy it, you’re bound to get those few who deem it as some godsend.

  19. says the bitch thats plays a mentally incapable and unbalanced teen mom (still hate twilight but this is pure hypocrisy)

    • Heather Ann says:

      That is exactly what I thought.

      • Leslie says:

        But she isn’t glamorizing being a mentally incapable and unbalanced teen mom. Twilight glamorized what was essentially a horrible relationship. Playing a part doesn’t mean you are endorsing it. She is pointing out that the book/movie made an abusive relationship seem desirable.

  20. Adara says:

    Who said that it is television or Hollywood’s role to teach people (not just teenagers) about how to and not to handle events in life? While she is correct, Twilight does portray a destructive relationship (it also shows how to care or love for someone over self), Life of an American Teenager portrays the romanticized vision of teen pregnancy and life with those decisions some being a glamification of the life. One is fiction the other is closer to reality. The problem with people who criticize either is that it is not television or the movies that should be allowed to TEACH anyone. As a parent, if your child watches these programs it is YOUR responsibility to explain to them not to believe or take the actions of the ACTORS to heart. YOU TEACH THEM RIGHT FROM WRONG! Why rely on Hollywood & actors to do so? (Rhetorical Question). If your child decides to have unprotected sex with their school’s hottie and get pregnant or be the one to impregnate a young lady or if your child decides to jump off a steep cliff into a river bank or whatever just to “see” them again, then it isn’t the television set you should throw out the window. Perhaps you should re-evaluate your parenting skills and discover what you failed to tell them in the first place to avoid these behaviors from the start. Gullibility is something that a well EDUCATED (not necessarily school-wise) person will not be susceptible to.

  21. Alyssa says:

    this is hilarious and hypocritical seeing as she auditioned for Bella in twilight before. this is prolly to up her media coverage before her movie and *fingers crossed* the movie does well.

  22. Christine says:

    Do we know if she came out with this on her own, or was she specifically asked for her opinion about Twilight?

  23. Ellen Ripley says:

    Oh man, your allegiance to Twilight is showing. It was an exaggeration, but seeking deadly thrills, just to trigger her delusions of Edward is right up there with not valuing her life because of a boy.

    • guest123 says:

      Taking Edward out the equation, how does seekiseekig thrills mean a person does not value their life? There are people in the world who go out and seek thrills by going bungee jumping or skydivingskydiving or even cliff diving(which Bella does in Twilight) just to feel that rush of adrenaline, are you saying they don’t value their lives?

  24. Guest says:

    This coming from someone who starred in The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Twilight is fluff enjoyed by women and girls so it is a magnet for self important judgement. Bashing it is the ‘cool’ thing to do. The silly thing is she just insulted a large number of the potential viewers of her films by saying they aren’t smart enough to grasp what she was able. Based on her misinterpretation, she judged before she had an understanding of the FANTASY portrayed. God knows her TV series provided a positive value set and strong role models for its teen viewers. No need to bash others work to raise your own image.

  25. lololol says:

    shailene does make a point, like really people do we really want teenage girls killing themselves just because of a boy? but in Allegiant after Tris dies Tobias wants to erase his memory but he doesn’t want to feel anymore pain, but he ends up not erasing his memory sooo.

  26. Guest says:

    Criticizing Twilight is a cheap and easy way to gain attention. Someone is desperate for the focus to shift to her. What is the matter Shailene, won’t discussing your current film do it for you?

    • Haylee says:

      She’s got two movies coming out close to each other, both very different movies, both of which are best sellers. I think she’ll be getting enough attention as it is, I don’t think she’s desperate for more.

      • Guest says:

        Why comment at all? She is playing the press game like everyone else and using the easy target that is Twilight to gain attention. As someone else said, she did audition for the part of Bella so she is hardly above it.

  27. Sam says:

    I don’t like Superman or any of the caped super heroes including Wonder Woman. They give kids the idea that they can fly and jump off buildings. Not a good message. Haha!! HaHa!! It’s fiction Shailene. Get with the program and promote your work just like Emma, Kristen and Jennifer did before you without knocking anyone down.

    • Mr. Cross says:

      Nice job missing the entire point Sam. Yes, Twilight is fiction. However, its fiction that romanticizes an abusive relationship. I don’t see how its a bad thing to condemn stories like that.

      • therealeverton says:

        In the films it is not an abusive relationship – at all. Unless we are taking his “old fashioned” desire to protect her as abusive? Something he refuses to “let him” do as she looks after herself?

        Also the idea that there aren’t millions of adults, let alone teenagers, who don’t fall to pieces when a relationship ends is laughable.

        Best of all the film where this happens shows her breakdown and that everyone around her thinks she is taking her ex too seriously and needs to stop. The film does the opposite of saying falling apart is a good thing, it acknowledges it and says you need to “man up; and take control of your life.

      • Heather Ann says:

        But promoting teen pregnancy and being an unbalanced and selfish teenager is good?

  28. CLove says:

    People like different things – we differ in food preferences, clothing style, hobbies, including book choices. There are people out there who dislikes Twilight, but it would have been fair if Woodley did her assignment first, got her fact straight before she shared to the world her reason for disliking the book. Bella didn’t attempt to kill herself but was thrill-seeking when she realised she could hear Edward’s voice when she’s in some sort of danger. Yes, it was a stupid thing to do but didn’t we all do a lot of stupid things when we were teens?

  29. Tessa Cox says:

    Perhaps Ms. Woodley should familiarize herself with material she objects to so adamantly. Bella never tries to kill herself when Edward leaves her. She goes on a thrill-seeking binge because she discovers she can hear his voice when she does these things. Also… While we are casting stones about setting examples for teens, does anyone remember her being in a show about teenagers getting pregnant, friends encouraging lies, and even friends with benefits? Really.

    • Jesse says:

      And let’s also recall that that show does not portray such acts as a good thing, while Twilight treats it as a perfectly normal and sane reaction?

      Also, “She goes on a thrill-seeking binge because she discovers she can hear his voice when she does these things.” WHAT PART OF THAT ASSESSMENT SOUNDS SANE? ARE YOU FANS THAT STUPID?

  30. John Shea says:

    Earth calling Shailene (and Stephen and Anne)! Vampires do not exist! And neither do Divergents.

    Her outburst is not a good omen for DIVERGENT’s success. And I hope nobody tells her about a certain TWILIGHT fanfic spinoff called FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY…

    And King and Rice are old enough to know better.

    • Sam says:

      Shailene did not read the books. The human girl (Bella) did not try to kill herself. She jumped from a clift into deep water that could have killed her but suicide was not her motive. The vampire boy (Edward) did try to kill himself. Bella saved him. She walked into the lion’s den (the vampire covenant) and ended up negotiating with them for his and her life. She bought themselves time by promising that they would marry and she would become a vampire. Later on she rallies vampires from all over the world and the werewolves to go against the vampire clan and save her family. She succeeded and it is understood that with time the vampire clan will be the ones running for cover. Bella showed courage and negotiating and leadership skills. No, Shailene did not read the books.

      • Lauren says:

        Suicide may not have been her “goal”, but the things that she does are done with a complete disregard to her own well being. She puts her life in danger, not caring if she dies, for one more chance to see a thin hallucination of her boyfriend. This isn’t healthy.

        Also let’s all keep in mind that this is one quote form an entire interview. I doubt she came out with it on her own; it was either asked of her or it was topical. Plus, she didn’t say anything Robert Pattinson hasn’t said himself.

      • KC1791 says:

        I’m sorry, i read all 4 books and the book seriously reinforces so many sexist stereotypes its just quite pathetic.

        And it DOES in fact reinforce for young girls, that if you lose your first love, its okay to fall apart and feel like life is a voided place no longer worth living. Bella only did dangerous shit because she wanted to “feel alive again” after Edward leaves, she uses everyone around her (e.g. Jacob and her friend Jessica, abliet Jessica uses her too) and disregards people and her life when she finally decides she wants out (she does in fact try to commit succeed whether told or in this case implied, all in order to see Edward’s face/ hear his voice in her hallucinations again)

        She knew what she was doing, lets not sugar coat it. She was either hoping for a god-out-of-a-machine ending where edward swoops in or that she does in fact slip only to regret it too late in.

        Then this whole, give up her whole life (literally) to get married so she can stay “young” like really? Vainty, looks and blind love is what we wanna teach girls? One thing to have had bella become hardened, say she didnt need any man to live, to learn things about life, and grow older and enjoy life, but another load of dog crap to force her to do all that stuff becuase of some lame coven. IDK the story just left me pissed after i read it.

      • Christine says:

        She seeks out thrilling acts in order to hear her ex-boyfriend’s voice talking to her. How is that healthy? Bella acts in harmful ways toward herself; whether death was her goal or not, jumping off of a cliff or riding a motorcycle are dangerous. This is self-harm, and Meyer glorifies it.

        Bella doesn’t negotiate with anyone; she stands there silently while the Volturi play head games with Edward and Alice. She also doesn’t rally people. She stays at the house while the other family members go out and find people. And they all decide to help because her magical baby is so special or whatever. Bella never acted as anyone’s leader. That position would probably go to Carlisle, if anyone.

        Edward tries to kill himself. This is portrayed as romantic. He stops because he finds out Bella is alive, not because life is inherently worth living. Bella also says several times that she wouldn’t consider suicide because “it would hurt Charlie,” not because she actually wants to live.

  31. coco says:

    She want an attention for her movie that why she is talking about twilight she started whoring with bad mouthing another movie.

  32. Bill says:

    It’s “unhealthy” but her one sentence description reads like heroin to tween girls – “She falls in love with this guy and the second he leaves her, her life is over and she’s going to kill herself!”

    There are very few 13-14 year-old girls who wouldn’t be tempted to check out a book, TV show or film with JUST that description.

  33. Em says:

    Would love to know what she thinks about that garbage show she starred on for years, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” Because that sure sent lovely messages about wonderful relationships to young people. ::Snort::

More Film News from Variety