An upbeat report! Lena Dunham exclusively told Us Weekly it’s “100 percent safe to say” that she’s “stronger than ever” following her recent health issues.
“I always shudder to make big statements,” the 33-year-old admitted to Us at the Friendly House Awards Luncheon in Beverly Hills on October 26. “But I have to say, the past two years haven’t just been the happiest years of my adult life, they’ve been the happiest years of my life. And that’s not because they’ve been perfect. It’s because I now have the tools based on what I’ve been through — whether it’s losing my health or ending a long relationship, or, you know, challenges with addiction.”
The Girls creator, who split from longtime partner Jack Antonoff in January 2018, now feels equipped to rebound from life’s hardships. “I’m not going to use the term conquer because those things are never over,” she explained. “But managing those things and learning that they don’t define me and that I actually have the tools to live a life of relative freedom has made me so much more confident, grounded, present. So it’s not that issues don’t come up, it’s that I have the tools to manage those issues, and that’s really what I wish for every woman.”
Dunham has been candid about her health issues in the past, writing an essay last year about her decade-long endometriosis ordeal and her resulting decision to get a full hysterectomy. This March, the Not That Kind of Girl author revealed she had undergone 12 surgeries, showing off her stomach scars in an Instagram pic.
And on Friday, November 1, Dunham posted a photo of herself using a cane. “This is what life is like when I’m struggling most with chronic illness,” she wrote in her caption. “An Ehler-Danlos syndrome flare means that I need support from more than just my friends… so thank you, sweet cane!”
She also commented on the “glamour nighty” she was wearing in the photo, noting that she rocked a “meeting look” an hour later. “That’s the two-fold life of a woman with chronic illness; we still rock our dreams and goals and passions (and fashions) and we live many lives in one day,” she wrote.
In her conversation with Us, Dunham acknowledged that she’s been called “a chronic over-sharer and a navel-gazer,” over the years. “But the reason I’ve been so insistent on sharing my experiences, I think, we have to be reminded again and again and again that we’re not alone,” she added. “I know that even when people [are] like, ‘Enough is enough, quit talking about your, you know, uterus or whatever,’ I want other people to know that they’re not alone.”
Now the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood actress — who previously opened up about misusing prescription pills — is looking forward to the future. “I’m going to direct a movie next year, and I’m so excited to just be present for that experience,” she told Us. “Because even though I made a lot of work in my 20s, I didn’t always enjoy it because I was so full of anxiety and hard on myself. It’s so challenging. You work so hard, and then you brutalize yourself. So I’m excited to just work hard and appreciate what I am capable of. … There were years where I couldn’t do what I love. So now I’m going to embrace every second of it.”
Plus, Dunham is thinking about starting a family at some point. “I’m excited to be a mom someday and to have a child that knows me as a strong, healthy, sober woman,” she told Us, revealing she considered motherhood when she was 27.
“I’m so glad that that child will know me in the future and not the past,” she concluded. “I think what that represents to me is that every choice, every misfortune, every tragedy, comes back around and can be representative of positive change, even if it feels blindingly challenging.”
With reporting by Taylor Ferber