Her character may have gotten pregnant during Pretty Little Liars’ final season, but Sasha Pieterse is sick of hearing rumors that she’s expecting in real life.
The 23-year-old — who’s currently reprising her role as Alison DiLaurentis on the PLL spinoff, The Perfectionists — opened up about the bullying she experienced after a 75-pound weight gain. “I couldn’t figure out why [I put on the weight],” she revealed in 2018. “I’m healthy, I exercise, and I always try to do my best and feel my best.” As it turns out, the reason was medical.
Sasha Pieterse recalls “hurtful” pregnancy and fat-shaming comments.
In 2017, the actress announced that her sudden weight gain was tied to her polycystic ovary syndrome diagnosis, or PCOS. According to the Mayo Clinic, PCOS is “a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age.” Symptoms include irregular periods, elevated levels of male hormone, and, in some instances, obesity/weight gain.
“It was really, really hurtful the way people reacted,” Sasha admitted during her 2017 stint on Dancing With the Stars. “People were saying stuff like, ‘she’s pregnant, you’re fat.’ They were angry, they were mad that I look like this.”
She added, “I didn’t know [that PCOS] was happening to me, so during that time when I was trying to figure it out on my own, it was publicized and I was on a TV show so it was documented every week.”
Though that period in her life could have easily broken her, Sasha turned the struggle into an opportunity to educate others through the bullying prevention campaign #ChooseKindness.
“As an actress, I have an amazing life. But one of the hardest parts about what we do for a living is that, I think people think they know you and they also feel comfortable telling you how they feel, even when it’s offensive and not appropriate,” she shared in a video for the campaign.
“That was a really hard two years of my life. But, the good thing is, I got through it, I came out on the other side, and a huge part of that is because I have such an amazing support system. My friends and my family and my husband [Hudson Sheaffer] are amazing and I don’t know, it would’ve been really hard to do it without them.”
Sasha is now receiving backlash over her storyline on The Perfectionists.
During the April 10 episode of The Perfectionists, viewers were angry to learn that Sasha’s character Alison and her wife from PLL, Emily (Shay Mitchell), are getting a divorce. Fans immediately accused the blonde beauty and showrunner I. Marlene King of misleading them in interviews ramping up to the series.
Sasha initially said that Alison wants to rejoin Emily and their twin daughters in Rosewood after completing her job as a teaching assistant at Beacon Heights University, but the duo’s split implies that the mother-of-two has no plans to return to her past life.
In response to one angry follower who called out the actress for lying about her character’s story arc, Sasha wrote, “No lying. I simply said what I believe. I trust Marlene and her vision. Alison will always love Emily and she will always love and be the best mom she can be to their girls. Emily is struggling with Alison’s past and Alison is trying to be a better person to fix their relationship.”
Well, you can’t make everyone happy. Watch new episodes of The Perfectionists Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.