The Untold Truth Of Lucy Hale

Lucy Hale has been working in Hollywood since she was a teenager, and her star has only continued to rise as the years have worn on. Hale began her career on reality television when she was a young teen but catapulted to worldwide fame after she was cast in the hit Freeform show "Pretty Little Liars" in 2010. Since "PLL" ended, Hale has headlined multiple other series, including "Life Sentence" and "Katy Keene," and appeared in the AMC miniseries "Ragdoll." She has also established herself on the big screen, with roles in films big –- such as "Scream 4" –- and small, like "Dude" and "The Hating Game."

Her IMDb lists even more upcoming projects, so acting appears to be Hale's current focus, but she has also had a secondary career in music. She released a solo record in 2014 and has been featured on many soundtrack albums, including "A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song" and "We Love Disney." Hale is also a social media darling, with a massive following on Instagram (24.5 million followers and counting) and a sizeable one on Twitter, where she rarely posts. Though she keeps a much lower profile than some of her celebrity peers, Hale has led a fascinating life, as you'll soon see.

Music was her first love

Anyone who watched the ill-fated only season of "American Juniors" probably remembers Lucy Hale from the show. In fact, Hale's musical gifts scored her a spot in the Top 5, which meant that she became a part of the singing group formed by the show. The group –- also called American Juniors -– made only one album before parting ways, but Hale's musical dreams did not end there. She was 13 when she auditioned for the show, and she had big dreams of stardom when she traveled to Los Angeles from her native Memphis, Tennessee. "I remember vividly getting off the plane and thinking, 'I'm going to live here one day and make all my dreams come true,'" she told Haute Living. "I was hell-bent."

Hale was into performing at a very early age, even when it was just singing Spice Girls songs in the family home. "My mom says I've always been a spotlight-hogger," Hale told USA Today. "I've always wanted to be the center of attention, so I would push my sister out of the way." That instinct to highlight her skills has served her well, and Hale has been able to show off her singing talent in many of her acting roles, including on "Pretty Little Liars." That is, of course, in addition to her musical endeavors that have occurred outside of her acting -– though appearing on screen has certainly been a bigger focus for the star.

She was homeschooled and moved to L.A. as a young teen

Lucy Hale was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, but realized early that she could not fulfill all of her dreams there (per W magazine). At age 15 –- after the breakup of American Juniors –- she and her mom relocated from the South to the West Coast, landing in Los Angeles with hopes of superstardom. "The transition was a major one," she once told College Magazine. "In L.A., everyone is super career-driven and Memphis is much more laid back and family oriented. Everyone hangs out and goes to church on Sundays, but L.A. is totally different." Nonetheless, Hale told Elle, "L.A. will always be my home. I've always felt like the black sheep of my family, and I feel like this is more where I belong."

Because Hale was involved in the arts, she never went to a traditional high school, which made moving easier. "I never went to or never stepped foot in a real high school," she said in an interview with Glamour. "I sacrificed a lot of like what you call, 'normal growing up,' whatever that is because I did grow up very fast, I started working at 16, supporting myself at 17, lived on my own at 18. Everything was just kind of quick." Not long after arriving in Los Angeles, Hale began booking acting gigs, including small parts on shows like "The OC" and "Drake & Josh," as well as a main role on the short-lived show "Bionic Woman."

Lucy Hale did not need to audition for Pretty Little Liars

"Pretty Little Liars" was undoubtedly her breakout gig, but Lucy Hale first started to gain mainstream notice after she appeared on the CW show "Privileged." Though the show was canceled after only one season, it was actually quite good, and it showcased Hale in a main player capacity. According to "Pretty Little Liars" showrunner Marlene King, it also created quite the demand for the young star. "Lucy didn't audition," King said in an interview with Variety. "She was coming off of 'Privileged' and everybody wanted to do a TV show with her. I grabbed a coffee with her ... and she had read the script and she loved it."

Interestingly, King told Variety that Hale first saw herself as the character of Hanna, a role which would eventually go to Ashley Benson. After some read-throughs with other actors, Hale agreed she fit Aria better, and the rest is history. There was, however, a moment where Hale almost passed on the show in favor of another opportunity. "I was offered another pilot, but my gut kept telling me to go towards Pretty Little Liars," she said to Cosmopolitan. "There was just something about that name that kept replaying in my head and I knew that that was probably the right decision to make." Hale appeared as Aria Montgomery in all seven seasons of "Pretty Little Liars," which produced a total of 160 episodes. She gained worldwide attention for the role and earned a People's Choice Award, seven Teen Choice Awards, and a Gracie Allen Award.

The star recorded a country album at age 25

After getting her professional start with "American Juniors," Lucy Hale's musical career appeared to fizzle out as quickly as it began. The kids' group only released one studio album (it was self-titled), though the show itself also released a soundtrack album featuring all 10 finalists, called "Kids in America." Given how her acting career took off in the years following, Hale could easily have abandoned her musical goals. Instead, she used her rising star to score a record deal with Hollywood Records, which resulted in her 2014 album "Road Between." Though she has had songs on soundtrack albums, this remains Hale's only solo album to date.

"Road Between" was a country album, drawing upon Hale's Southern roots and her deep love of the genre. She has said that she listened almost exclusively to country music and Disney as a child, and that she idolized Martina McBride as a youngster. The album actually allowed her to meet her idol, though it did not go as planned. "First of all, we're the same height — 5-foot-2 — which is very cool," Hale told USA Today. "But I don't think I said a word to her, because I didn't know what to say." Hale has not released any singles since 2014, but she recorded music as recently as 2020, when she was featured on two soundtracks, both stemming from her television show "Katy Keene."

She felt a lot of beauty pressures during Pretty Little Liars

There is a lot of pressure to be beautiful in Hollywood across the board, but being a young woman and starring in a show with the word "pretty" in its title certainly does not help that pressure. For Lucy Hale, the show really exacerbated issues that had already been present for much of her early life. "In my early twenties, late teens, oh my God — I was just so hard on myself. The way I looked, how much I weighed, the food I was eating, my skin, anything," she told InStyle in 2020. "And I think that's normal. But it is nice to be of an age where I'm accepting of the body I'm in, and I'm accepting of myself, and I love myself, you know?"

Hale has been open about her two biggest beauty struggles during this time period — her skin and her body image. In 2012, she told Cosmopolitan magazine that she would sometimes go multiple days without eating anything of substance (as reported by People magazine). Her struggle with anorexia occurred during a time period where she also struggled with acne. "There were tears," Hale told Glamour in 2022. "I remember vividly one day we were filming Pretty Little Liars — and the show's called Pretty Little Liars, so they wanted us to look a certain way — we had to specially light my skin to reflect in a different way so you wouldn't see my acne. I remember being just so embarrassed and mortified."

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Lucy Hale struggled when Pretty Little Liars ended

"Pretty Little Liars" began in 2010 and went off the air in 2017, when Lucy Hale was 28. She has described the period directly following the show's end as a tough time for her, both in terms of the pressure to maintain her success as well as the challenge of figuring out who she is when she is not working. In a 2021 interview with People, she spoke of that time period in a frank and honest way. "The show changed our lives overnight. We were so young, so busy and overworked. But you're up on this mountain, and you're like, 'Everything is so great! People love us!'" she said in the interview. "When you step outside of that, you're like, 'That's not normal.' After the show ended, it was a dark time in my life."

Hale took some time to find herself after "Pretty Little Liars" wrapped, though she did jump back onto TV screens in 2018. Still, that post-"PLL" period was fraught, and Hale had to think about how she could live a public life without succumbing to all of the pressures she felt. "It's been really fun, but [taxing] to find an identity outside of my public persona. For a while, that's who I thought I was," she said in an interview with Haute Living. "I thought I had to live up to certain expectations, of who people expected me to be. It was miserable trying to keep up with that and keep up a perfect image."

She chose Life Sentence because of how different it was from PLL

"Pretty Little Liars" was a game changer for Lucy Hale, but few actors want to come off of a seven-season television series and step into a role that is too similar to their previous one. For Hale, follow-up projects included a one-off guest stint on "The Unicorn," and two films, "Truth or Dare" and "Dude." Following that, she decided to head back to television as a series regular, but she chose a show with a very different tone from "Pretty Little Liars." "Life Sentence" was a comedic drama, far removed from the eerie, dark, and mysterious "PLL." "It was nice to do something totally very different than what I'd been doing for the last couple of years," she told Collider.

Another appeal of "Life Sentence" was how different Hale's character, Stella Abbott, was from Aria Montgomery, her "Pretty Little Liars" role. In the show, Stella has been living her life in a reckless manner because she believed she had terminal cancer. When she finds out her cancer has miraculously entered remission, she has to readjust everything. "I want to say [playing Stella] was strategic because she was the opposite of Aria, and I wanted people to view me in a different light. It was ultimately the best decision I could have made for myself," Hale told Haute Living. And unlike "Pretty Little Liars," which was an ensemble, "Life Sentence" was an opportunity for Hale to headline a series, which she told W Magazine was both exciting and nerve-wracking.

The actor's specific morning routine

A lot of very successful people are creatures of habit. For instance, Mark Zuckerberg wears the same outfit, more or less, every day, and Twitter's Jack Dorsey starts off each day with meditation and an ice bath (per Daily Mail). But it's not just tech masterminds who swear by routine -– many actors also love consistency. Take Julianne Moore, who used to keep a morning routine that strictly enforced leaving her home at a designated time and taking a specific route to ensure she remained fortunate. Lucy Hale is another celebrity who thrives on a consistent morning routine, though she seems to be more lax about it than Dorsey or Moore. Still, given that she has discussed it in multiple interviews, it clearly plays a large role in her life.

"No matter where I'm at in the world, or what time I have to be up for work, I always wake up an hour early because I have to start my morning off slow," Hale told Awkwafina in a conversation published in Interview. "I have to make my coffee and do my journaling and just sit there, otherwise my whole day is thrown off." In an interview with Byrdie, Hale expanded upon her explanation by clarifying that her journal was one focused on gratitude, which she said sets a positive tone for her day. She also told Byrdie that she often hikes in the morning hours. And she told People that watching the sunrise with her dogs has become habitual.

She is a major homebody and loves alone time

It is not just in the morning hours that Lucy Hale loves to hang out peacefully -– the actor has said that she very much enjoys being at home and that she is far less social than people would imagine. "When I'm not working, my life is pretty much the same every day. I spend time with the dogs, go hiking, and drink copious amounts of coffee," she told Byrdie in 2022, adding that she spends a lot of her time reading books. Even when she is on location, Hale packs things like candles and crystals to make her temporary living space feel like home.

"I don't know if it's because work constantly pulls me in a million different directions, but I love solitude. It's not unusual for me to not do anything social for months at a time," Hale said in an interview with People. And though we are relatively confident that she is exaggerating –- or that her version of "social" differs from ours — it seems clear that Hale is not going out barhopping on the regular. She has said that she keeps a very tight circle of close friends, and that the majority of them work in the entertainment industry but not in front of the camera (per W Magazine).

Her dogs are named after pop culture icons

Lucy Hale has two dogs, and both of them have pop culture-infused names. Her dog, Elvis, is named after the famed singer, and Hale got him when he was just a puppy. "I'm from Memphis originally, and my grandmother idolized Elvis Presley, and I love Elvis Presley as well, so that's where his name came from," she explained to Byrdie. Hale got a second dog -– a rescue, this time -– during the pandemic (per Byrdie). That one is named Ethel, after Lucy's best friend on "I Love Lucy."

Per Marie Claire, both dogs are maltipoos -– maltese and toy poodle mixes -– but they don't exactly click as well as one would expect. In her interview with Byrdie, Hale noted that her dogs did not get along when Ethel first joined their pack. "I had this vision in my head of them being best friends. That's not exactly how it worked out," she explained. "They're just now at the point where they're cuddling, and they'll play every once in a while. But for a solid year, Elvis was like, 'Okay, mom, when is she going home?'" Hale is so into her dogs that she also said she tries to travel with them whenever she can.

Hale loves true crime content

In many interviews, Lucy Hale has referenced her personal interest in -– and appreciation for -– the true crime genre. "I'm the girl who's listening to true-crime podcasts on my morning hike. I watch all the true-crime documentaries," she told Shape. "I love the psychology of people and what makes people tick." This interest in crime fare is partially what attracted Hale to the AMC miniseries "Ragdoll," where she played a constable investigating a series of gruesome murders (per Collider). She also liked the way it was written and the unexpected insertion of humor, despite the fact that the show is not based on a true story.

In "Ragdoll," the victims have all been dismembered and sewn back together, as if they were ragdolls (hence the title), but Hale's love of true crime prepared her for the dark content. In a conversation published in Interview magazine, wherein Hale and Awkwafina discuss how they bonded over their love of true crime, Hale said that she could trace her interest back to one particular documentary. "I think the one that kick-started it all for me was The Jinx," she explained. "It's been a while, but I've seen that multiple times and it was just so well done. I think that was the beginning of it all, but even before that, I'm a huge 'Forensic Files' gal."

Her wish list of future projects

Since she began acting, Lucy Hale has amassed more than 40 credits, and she has done a lot of different things – from horror flicks to romantic comedies and back again. But like many actors, she has a wish list of things she hopes to tackle in the future. Much of her hopes have to do with continuing to explore new territory as an actor. "I actually creatively need to do things that challenge me, or it's just not fun for me. I'm at the point now where I'm willing to take risks. I'm willing to fail, if I need to, to just get excited," she told Collider in 2021.

In particular, Hale has said that a movie musical – which would combine her two loves, acting and singing – tops her wish list, but her dreams do not end there (per Interview Magazine). "I'd love to do an epic love story à la The Notebook. I would love to do a period piece, anything '70s or before," she admitted to Awkwafina in the piece. "Those are things where I can have fun, but I do love the darker genres." In 2014, Hale confessed that she bombed her audition for "50 Shades of Grey," which would have taken her outside of her comfort zone in an incredibly sexually charged role. "Mainly, I was just interested in doing something risky and doing something a little different than my character on 'PLL' so it took me out of my comfort zone," she told MTV.

She loves to work out because it makes her feel strong

Over time, Lucy Hale has been able to develop a healthy relationship with her body, despite her past struggles with anorexia. "For much of my life, I thought I had to be cute and sit there. That's so boring," she said in a Shape interview. "I've developed more confidence because I realize I'm more than the way I look." Working out has remained central to her life, but now her focus appears to be on its mental and physical benefits rather than appearance-related benefits. In 2021, she told People about mixing up her workouts based upon what she feels like her body needs. Yoga, Pilates, and strength training are staples of her routine.

Hale told Shape that feeling strong is important to her, and that she once even flipped a giant tire. "I'm 5-foot-2, but I like to feel like a bada** and to know that I could kick someone's a**. So I do pull-ups and do squats with the big-boy weights," she said in the interview. "I spent much of my teen years and early 20s not loving my body and not being good to it. I'm trying to make up for that because we get only one body. We have to take care of our temple." Hale has also been known to enjoy SoulCycle classes, as she discussed in a 2017 interview with Yahoo! Life, and to go on regular hikes near her Studio City home (per People).

Lucy Hale's net worth

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Lucy Hale is currently worth $6 million. The bulk of her money has most likely come from her television work, which has included 160 episodes of "Pretty Little Liars," 18 episodes of "Privileged," 13 episodes of "Life Sentence," and 13 episodes of "Katy Keene." Hale has also appeared in a number of movies, with "Scream 4" and "Truth or Dare" being the largest and best-grossing (per The Numbers). Hale's music career likely also contributed to her net worth, though she has produced only one solo record thus far.

In addition to music and acting, Hale has made considerable money from endorsement deals over the years. She has been a brand ambassador for everything from Avon (per PR Newswire) to Mark Cosmetics (per Teen Vogue). She also modeled for multiple Bongo campaigns back in the early days of "Pretty Little Liars," per Teen Vogue. All of her endeavors have allowed Hale to live very comfortably, as evidenced by her gorgeous Studio City house. According to the Los Angeles Times, the actor paid $2.95 million for the house back in 2019. Her previous home –- also in Studio City –- was sold for $2.45 million that same year (per Observer).