Jessica Brown Findlay makes candid confession about life after Downton Abbey fame

Jessica Brown Findlay found overnight fame starring in Julian Fellowes' hit period drama, Downton Abbey – a role she will eternally be grateful for.

The actress, who played the beloved Lady Sybil Crawley in the first three series, confessed she made a conscious effort to step away from period dramas to avoid being typecast.

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"Downton exploded in a way I wasn't ready for," she told The Times. "For my mental health I needed to keep it more low-key. I would have got lost in Hollywood.

"The idea of eventually having that kind of success is exciting, but I'd like to have it in my thirties or forties because it would be in perspective. Earlier, it would have destroyed me."

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Speaking further about the beloved series, which has found huge success in the States and produced two films on the big screen, Jessica said: "There is a rose-tinted approach to the story - the camaraderie across the class system and the bond of World War One."


The actress played Lady Sybil Crawley in the period drama

She added: "I remember walking past a news stand with Michelle [Dockery] and Laura [Carmichael] and it said 14 million people watched the last episode. That was wild — it wasn't a time when a show could take over and be spoken about in Hollywood; we thought it was a little ITV period drama."

The 33-year-old got her breakout role in Downton Abbey back in 2010. She has since appeared in costume drama series Harlots, Jamaica Inn, Black Mirror and The Riot Club.

She will soon be seen starring in a television series based on Beth O'Leary's bestselling novel, The Flatshare. Meanwhile, Jessica and her husband Ziggy Heath are looking ahead to the arrival of their first baby together.

They married in a private ceremony in September 2020 after meeting on the set of Harlots and earlier this year, the Downton star opened up about their fertility journey.

"I hoped to work more this side of having babies," she told The Times about finding work when pregnant. "But you can't. It is very hard to insure pregnant women on set, and since Covid it's become even harder because you are considered even higher risk."

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