This post contains mentions of drug abuse and eating disorders.
One of the biggest TV shows from the 2010s was Pretty Little Liars. Based on Sara Shepard's books and adapted by I. Marlene King, the series ran for 160 episodes and honestly, had more twists and turns than any other show.
Over the course of seven seasons, the core group of characters — Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer — dealt with more chaos than any friends should have to handle while the mysterious "A" began threatening them after their friend Alison mysteriously disappeared.
Alongside some of the most unhinged plot twists on TV, Pretty Little Liars also gave us some of the most talked about relationships between characters.
Namely, one of the biggest was Emily's coming out story, sexuality, and eventual relationships, which became very important for LGBTQ+ representation on TV.
Even though Emily and Alison eventually end up together, prior to Alison's return, Emily dated Maya and Paige, with both playing a big role in early seasons.
While Maya was only a series regular in Season 1, Paige stuck around until Season 5 and was a main supporting character on the show. However, during Season 5, she abruptly decided to leave town.
Paige's departure happened fairly quickly, and now Lindsey Shaw is opening up about what happened behind the scenes that led to her exit from the hit series.
"When I had my drug problem and I was in between working on stuff, I would never have to address my relationship with food because I was like, 'Oh, I can always just go get more Adderall,'" Lindsey began when the trio started talking about body image and how social media plays a role in how people see themselves.
She continued, saying, "It was really hard. I basically got let go from Pretty Little Liars in Season 5 because of the weight that I had lost. It was really an embarrassing thing. I didn't look good too skinny, and then, when I started to put the weight back on, I couldn't handle it being too heavy. So, it kind of played into this dumb cycle. ... I really think [what] kept me in using was just not dealing with it and then running to go back to set."
Through tears, Lindsey recalled being informed that she was being let go of Pretty Little Liars and how, although it was a hard conversation, it ultimately led to her taking a look at what she was doing and seeking help.
"It was so bad. I got called into the Pretty Little Liars' creator's office...and she was just like, 'So, we're gonna let you go.' She was like, 'It's not because of your acting, but do you have anybody to talk to?' And I was like, 'Um, no,'" Lindsey said.
She added, "She was like, 'Well, find somebody. And we have to let you go now.'"
Lindsey said while filming Season 5, Shay Mitchell began to notice something was going on with her, saying, "We went to the same nutritionist for a while, and she was bringing me, like, protein powder. She was like, 'Girl.' It was awful. It was awful."
"I just gave away everything I cared about," Lindsey added. "I just don't know that I've ever gotten back to the point in my career that I was before that talk, that meeting, or that whole season of using."
While being fired from Pretty Little Liars was tough, Lindsey applauded I. Marlene King and the crew for handling the situation "with so much care."
Getting more emotional, Lindsey added, "It was really sweet because they brought me back in Season 7. It was so lovely of that writing team to see that relationship and that character out, but that was rough."
Lindsey said she's been able to get the support and help that she needed and now has a much healthier relationship with her body: "There are things I enjoy so much about my body now that I can't put words to even though before it was traditionally more thin or what it 'should be' or whatever looks good on camera so any angle looks good on you."
"For the mental place that I'm in now, I'm so much happier," she added.
After Lindsey shared this story, Devon applauded her for seeking help and how he's proud of her for how well she's doing now.
You can listen to Lindsey, Devon, and Daniel's full conversation on the Ned's Declassified Podcast Survival Guide here.
You can also watch the full episode below:
The National Eating Disorders Association helpline is 1-800-931-2237; for 24/7 crisis support, text “NEDA” to 741741.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.