- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Taking to Instagram on Wednesday, the actress — who portrayed Lucy in the Chronicles of Narnia films — revealed that when she was 18 she contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a “rare and punishing infection that nearly claimed my life and wrought havoc throughout my body.”
The infection led to the actress almost having to have her left hand and arm amputated. “In order to prevent the amputation of my left hand and arm I received grueling invasive surgery, and later extensive reconstruction surgery which resulted in a series of skin grafts and scars,” she wrote.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, necrotizing fasciitis is “a rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly in the body and can cause death.” The infection can also “lead to sepsis, shock, and organ failure” and “result in life-long complications from loss of limbs or severe scarring due to surgically removing infected tissue.”
After the health scare, Henley said “it has taken me a long time to heal both physically and mentally” and that she always hoped to find the right time to share what happened. Henley also reflected on the lengths she went through to keep it secret from the public while working.
“For the last nine years I have been open about my scars in my personal life, but have hidden them entirely in any professional context: wearing bandages or coverings, makeup on set and stage, long sleeves whenever I might be photographed, trousers so I could put my hand in a pocket,” she revealed, adding that because the industry “often focuses on a very narrow idea of what is deemed aesthetic ‘perfection,'” she was “worried that my scars would prevent me from getting work.”
“The truth is there is no such thing as ‘perfection,’ but I have still lived with the shame of feeling different, exacerbated by the expectations that came with beginning my career at a young age,” she said.
Henley emphasized that her “scars are not something to be ashamed of,” but rather “they are a map of the pain my body has endured, and most importantly a reminder of my survival. They do not affect my capacity as an actor, and I’m proud to be a person who has visible scars in this industry.”
Henley went on to thank the medical professionals for their “exceptional care,” her loved ones for “their enduring love and support throughout the hardest of times” and her agents and those “who have employed me in the last nine years, who never saw my scars as a problem and respected who I was as a person and actor.”
“I’m sure I will talk more about my experiences in the future but today I am simply happy to feel, for the first time in a very long time, finally free,” she said, sharing a photograph of herself with her scars on display.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day