Everyone operates on their own timeline. Some 28-year-olds have been married for a decade and have four children. Other 28-year-olds eat instant ramen for dinner every night and can barely keep a succulent alive. In an interview with Bustle, published on April 17, actor Shailene Woodley spoke about how she's recently realized that — at 28 — she's not quite ready to make the kind of commitment other people her age are ready to make, and it's so relatable. If you're still wondering why Shailene Woodley and Ben Volavola broke up earlier this year, then you'll likely appreciate her explanation.
"I was in a relationship with someone and we were very much on the road to marriage and children," she told Bustle, referring to the rugby player, whom she dated for over two years. "I realized I was still at an age where I wasn't able to fully commit. I couldn't be available to him in the way that I wanted to be. I didn't fully love myself." According to Woodley, this revelation happened while she was filming her new movie, Endings Beginnings. "What improvising an entire movie does is forces you to be truthful in a way that even in your own life you're not truthful," she explained. "...I learned a lot about what was and wasn't working in my personal life."
Woodley and Volavola reportedly met in Fiji while the rugby player was competing in the Pacific Nations Cup and the Big Little Lies actor was filming Adrift. By Oct. 2017, the two were spotted smooching in Auckland, New Zealand, and in Jan. 2018, they made themselves Insta-official. During a May 2018 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the notoriously private Woodley opened up about her relationship, admitting she knew nothing about rugby before meeting Volavola. That same month, the couple made their red carpet debut for the premiere of Adrift.
However, just a month later, Woodley confessed that her restless nature would probably keep her from settling down just yet. "To know you have a home is nice and grounding and centering, but I don't know where I want that to be," she said during a June 2018 interview with inews.co.uk. "Even with a husband and kids and home though, I'll always travel. I'll always have that vagabond spirit." She also told Woman's Wear Daily in March 2019 that, though she could see herself having children, "the best thing about playing a mom on TV is you get to send them home at the end of the day with their real parents."
For Woodley, her priority right now is focusing inward, not starting a family. Like her Big Little Lies character, Woodley says she's had traumatic sexual experiences of her own, and though she believes she's "healed" her relationship with sexuality, she still needs to work on her relationship with herself. "I was trying to use relationships to distract me from getting to know myself," she told Bustle. "I can't run from myself." Rather than making a commitment to someone else, Woodley wants to commit her 28th year of life to personal growth, and IMO, it takes real courage to recognize that. Proud of you, Shailene.