House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke says she suffered 'mental breakdown' and hid it

Olivia Cooke plays Queen Alicante Hightower in Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon. Credit: PA images

House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke has opened up about her mental health struggles - admitting she was "very good at hiding it".

Originally from Oldham, Olivia plays the cutthroat role of Queen Alicante Hightower in the Game of Thrones prequel, which is one of the most highly anticipated series in history.

Despite being just 28, she has had a varied acting career, starring in five seasons of award-winning series Bates Motel and Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One.

(Left to right) Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Emma D'Arcy, Rhys Ifans and Paddy Considine attends the House of Dragon premiere. Credit: PA images

But, as the actor told The Guardian, she has struggled with her mental health, suffering what she described as a "full mental breakdown" six years ago, at the age of 22.

“It was a big old lovely cocktail: being homesick and not knowing it, having not stopped since I was 18, being on my own for large swathes of time," Olivia told the Guardian.

At the time, she was starring in Ready Player One and playing the leading role in the Hollywood movie Thoroughbreds, alongside Queen's Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy.

“It was bad, bad. Awful, actually", she said. “...I was working all the way through. I was very good at hiding it.”

Olivia Cooke at one of the premiers for Bates Hotel. Credit: PA images

Olivia says she found refuge in her work while grappling with her mental health, describing filming as an "escape" from herself.

It was not until 2019 that she noticed more significant "incessant, persistent, anxious thoughts" began to let up.

“What was really healing was moving back to London,” she says after living in the U.S for several years.

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