Watch: Shailene Woodley Jumped "Headfirst" Into Aaron Rodgers Romance
Of course, the defense saw right through that one. As reports about their romance spread, the Green Bay Packers quarterback and the actress knew they'd have to go public with their relationship sooner rather than later. So, Rodgers announced his engagement during his MVP acceptance speech at the NFL Honors in February, and Woodley confirmed the news in a Tonight Show interview a few weeks later.
"When we announced that we were engaged, we wanted to do that only because we didn't want someone else to do it before we did," she explained in The Hollywood Reporter's latest cover story. "And we didn't do it for months and months after we had become engaged, but the reaction to it was really a lot, and so we were like, ‘Let's just politely decline [to talk about the relationship] for a little while and live in our little bubble.'"
According to the magazine, the two were introduced through mutual friends, both musicians, and grew their bond during the pandemic, moving in together within a few months and traveling back and forth between California and Wisconsin.
"You could travel, but you had masks on," Woodley recalled. "There was a sense of anonymity that otherwise I don't think we would have had. We were really able to get to know one another the way we wanted to get to know one another and not have any noise or chaos around us."
This is basically a page straight out of Rodgers' playbook. The longtime QB has been known to be pretty private, even keeping the sports world in suspense as rumors about his NFL future continue to make headlines. And though fans have gotten a glimpse into their world—the pair were spotted vacationing in Hawaii and Disney World and the Big Little Lies alum showed her support during Rodgers' Jeopardy! hosting gig—neither he nor Woodley has ever seemed super fond of the attention that comes with living in the public eye.
"I didn't want fame," she explained. "I didn't have in my head, 'I want to be at the Oscars one day.' In school, I never told people I was an actor. Kids would be like, ‘I saw you on My Name Is Earl last night,' and it was like a taunting, a way of making me feel insecure at the time."
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She even took two years off from acting to backpack around the world after starring in the 2011 movie The Descendants and later had to turn down work because of a health condition. "It was pretty debilitating," she shared. "I said no to a lot of projects, not because I wanted to but because I physically couldn't participate in them. And I definitely suffered a lot more than I had to because I didn't take care of myself. The self-inflicted pressure of not wanting to be helped or taken care of created more physical unrest throughout those years."
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Now, she she's "on the tail end of it," she explained, and has tried to find the silver lining. "It made me learn the incredibly difficult life task of not caring what people think about you very quickly," The Fault in Our Stars alum said. "The more I paid attention to the noise that was surrounding me, the longer it was taking my body and my mind to heal because I wasn't focused on myself, I was focused on an image of myself via the lens of everyone around us."
And she tries to keep this lesson in mind as she continues to live in the spotlight. "It's just easier, in my opinion, to be open," Woodley said. "I really don't feel there's any need to put on a face or be anything other than who you are because otherwise it's exhausting. You always f–king remember the truth.…It's really hard to keep up with the lies or the fabrications or the masks that we put on out of self-preservation. The only person that ends up coming back to haunt is ourselves."