The actress played a rape victim in the two-season HBO series, while co-star Nicole Kidman portrayed a beaten wife, and the "Divergent" star now understands how her art can really help people in need.
"The subject matter is so personal but I don't know one person who hasn't either experienced domestic abuse or sexual abuse themselves or someone they know very closely, whether a family member or best friend," Woodley tells WENN.
"I have friends in my close circle who have very similar stories in their lives - and family as well. I had a family member send me photos of her bruises all over her body right before we started filming season two. She's not in my immediate family, so I don't know her very well but she said, 'Your show has given me the confidence to talk to you guys and try to get out of this relationship.' "
"That was the most intimate and impactful, because the minute you see something visually you just know that what you're doing actually matters more than just simple storytelling."
Shailene also admits the subject helped the cast bond when the cameras weren't rolling: "We're all very different people, all coexisting... The beautiful thing about all of us is we genuinely like each other, not just faux Hollywood like each other, which helps a lot. We're really good at giving our differences space."
"For instance, at dinner, we go deep very quickly, whether it's emotional or political conversations. We all have our similar opinions about ideas but different ways of getting there."