Kaley Cuoco is embracing a new phase in her life.
In a wide-ranging interview for Glamour magazine, The Flight Attendant star opens up about the hard lessons she's learned in therapy — including the search for what she really wants in life, how being a workaholic impacted her past relationships and how she's able to find emotional balance amid success in Hollywood.
"My therapist and I are working on forgiveness and forgiving myself for making mistakes," she said. "I think that's been the hardest thing is just accepting that I'm normal and that I'm not superwoman. I highly recommend therapy to everyone out there. Even if your life is going really well."
The 36-year-old has been at the top of her game since her star-making role in The Big Bang Theory ended three years ago. One of the most powerful women in Hollywood, Cuoco owns up to her unhealthy obsession with work that has led to the deterioration of past relationships in her life — including, in part, her recent divorce from equestrian Karl Cook in September.
"I do admit to being married to my career. I am," she explained. "It's always been my first love. I think that's a tough one to overcome. I think as women get to this point…[and yes] it is a challenge for me, [because] things in my life and people sometimes don't measure up to the feeling I have with my career. And I admit to that holding me back in a way. I'm talking about that a lot in therapy.
"I'm so black-and-white, and trying to find the gray is just very hard for me," she added. "It's all or nothing. I actually have a T-shirt that says, 'Still trying to find the gray.' And I admit that's a downfall. I've lost relationships over it; I've lost friendships over it."
The actress, who has been particularly open about her emotional struggles on social media in the last year, explained that she wanted to let her fans know that it's OK not to be OK.
"I wanted people to see, it's not all magic and it's not all easy," she said of being so public about her struggles. "I struggle with what I want, what I think I'm supposed to have. Being fearful, being scared of what the future holds. It's the pressure of family, of kids, of: Can I have all these things? Do I want those things? It's funny how you can have one part of your life feel so f***ing good and the other feels like a mess. I'm learning as I go. But I think it's also knowing that life is really short and you've got to make the move if you're unhappy. You have to move forward."
She went on to say, "This last year's been the most growth I've had in my entire life in my 36 years on this planet. And it's been life-changing for me. My life will never be the same. And I totally feel that. And I see things differently now. Change is good."
Cuoco's personal struggles have been a conduit to her character's emotional journey on The Flight Attendant, earning her an Emmy nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy. But, as she puts it, tapping into her personal "trauma" for the role took a toll on her body.
"I'd have these emotional scenes and then I'd go home and cry over my personal life," she explained. "I developed a rash that went from my lower stomach down my leg. It lasted for seven months. I discovered through therapy and through my doctors that it was completely emotional. That's how the stress was [showing up] physically. I couldn't even walk. The scenes were so hot and driven; there was no calmness."
Looking ahead, while she's made the decision that she "will never get married again," Cuoco said she will always be open to love. Only this time, it will be a deeper kind of love.
"I want a deeper relationship so that [I’m not afraid to] take a week off here and there," she said. "I want to take a breath between jobs, which I haven't done since the beginning of Big Bang. I've not even taken a vacation. I don't want to. The thought of going somewhere even for the weekend is like, I can't. I love working. I would rather work than hang out on a beach somewhere. But [that relentless pursuit] was making me sick. I mean, the rash on my leg doesn't lie."
Cuoco still believes "there is someone out there."
"I love love. I'm not someone that wants to be by myself. I just need to figure out my priorities a little bit and make sure now I know that I need to water that relationship. It's like a plant. Sometimes I get too focused on the garden instead of the specific plant that needs to be watered. And I am well aware of that. I want to change, I want to be better," she said.
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