The Tragic Truth About Hunter Schafer

This article contains mentions of mental health struggles and drug use. 

Just a few years ago, if you said "Hunter Schafer," no one would have bat an eye. But when the HBO series "Euphoria" was released in 2019, it catapulted the entire cast into superstardom, including Schafer, whose life changed drastically after taking on the role of Jules — one she nearly turned down. The show continued to get bigger with Season 2, and Schafer could have never predicted this would have happened to her. She told Elle in 2023, "It was a huge adjustment, for sure. Nobody really knew if the show was going to hit like that, you know? It's strange, because I thought it would kind of level off after Season 1, but Season 2 felt like it doubled in size."

Despite there being two seasons of "Euphoria," Schafer's popularity has not died down. In 2023, she starred in the "Hunger Games" spin-off, "The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes." But more than just her acting, people have become obsessed with all things Schafer. From her incredible fashion choices to modeling, everything she does is fawned over by fans, and she doesn't plan on limiting herself. She told Harper's Bazaar, "I'm not attached to one career. I want to do everything. I'm really lucky that I have space and resources to just ... try new s*** and see if it sticks." Schafer seems unstoppable, and while her life may seem glamorous, it hasn't always been like that, as she has had to deal with tragic situations throughout her life.

Hunter Schafer relived her transition on Euphoria

Hunter Schafer has been open about her experience being a transgender woman. She admitted to Harper's Bazaar that she kept a journal of the early days of her transition process. She said, "I have all my thoughts about first transitioning. The day I first started hormone therapy." But while she kept the details of her transition in her journal, Schafer still tried to block out that part of her life.

She revealed to V Magazine that for a long time, she pushed her experience of transitioning out of her mind. She said, "Part of surviving [that] experience was just, like, getting through s***. Letting it rest, and not addressing it. I think that's what I had been [doing] up to that point: just going and going, fighting to be on the other side of my transition." That time in the "Euphoria" star's life was not easy, so she buried it deep with herself. But, when she landed "Euphoria," Schafer had to address those feelings directly and relive certain aspects of transitioning.

Schafer shared, "I was like, 'Oh s***..' And remembering things that I hadn't thought about until [that point]. That happened throughout the entire season: As we worked through different scenes, I'd have to remember a new detail, to dig up an artifact from within myself, and hold onto that moment for the scene." This was difficult for the actor, but she pushed herself to create the best work for the show.

Hunter Schafer struggles with depression

Throughout her life, Hunter Schafer has had to deal with depression. The "Euphoria" star is among the celebs who have been open about living with mental health struggles, and there have been points in her life where her depression got worse. One of those times was before she transitioned. She told AnOther Magazine in September 2023, "I think it [depression] was one of the catalysts for my transition because I was really starting to fade when I was approaching puberty. And I think it became obvious to the people around me. Thankfully that was enough to get the help I needed to start transitioning." Schafer admitted that she has struggled with depression for years, and it never truly goes away.

In the summer of 2020, Schafer had another bad experience with her depression. She told i-D Magazine (via Cosmopolitan), "I was in a very f***ing raw place, you know, it was the summer of 2020. Probably coming out of the worst depression I've ever had, and needing somewhere to put all of that energy." During this time, Schafer had "Euphoria" to lean on to help her out of that state of mind. In two one-off special episodes of the HBO show released in 2020, we see Jules, Schafer's character, having a deep talk with her therapist about the difficult situations of her life. This episode was not only therapeutic for her character but also Schafer herself. She said, "When I say that episode really became a lifeline, I mean it." 

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Hunter Schafer and the Euphoria cast lost fellow castmate Angus Cloud

Tragedy struck the "Euphoria" cast when Angus Cloud sadly passed away. Cloud was only 25 years old when he died of an "acute intoxication following an accidental overdose" in July 2023, per People. A statement released to the public shared, "It is with the heaviest heart that we had to say goodbye to an incredible human today. As an artist, a friend, a brother and a son, Angus was special to all of us in so many ways." Fans were shocked by the sudden death as tributes poured in for the actor. Of course, many wondered how the rest of the "Euphoria" cast was dealing with the sad news. 

Hunter Schafer was left distraught after Cloud's death and posted a heartbreaking tribute to social media. Schafer shared in an Instagram post, "Angus was a sunshine. to have known his warmth, his light, and his love was nothing short of a gift. i'm so grateful to have shared so many enormous fits of laughter, so many sweet moments, and the joy of getting to make something together that we loved so much." At the end of the tribute, Schafer addressed Cloud directly. She wrote, "i love you angus. thank you for everything." Cloud was such an integral part of the show and affected so many people's lives; no one could have ever expected the tragic loss.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Hunter Schafer was arrested while protesting

Hunter Schafer found herself in some legal trouble after showing her support for the Palestinian people through protest. Palestine and Israel have a deep-rooted history that has caused conflict and tension to rise as the two have fought for the land that they believe is rightfully theirs, per the BBC. In 2023, things took a turn after Hamas, an Islamist militant group, made a surprise attack against the Israeli people. Since then, the two have been at war, with thousands of lives lost in Gaza. Many have been divided over the issue, but Schafer took a stance to support the Palestinian people.

In February 2024, Schafer and several other protesters occupied the lobby at NBCUniversal Headquarters, where Joe Biden was set to appear on "Late Night with Seth Meyers," per NBC News. Many, even U.S. citizens, have critiqued Biden and the U.S. government for their support for Israel and providing military funding for the war. Because of this, the protesters were hoping to gain awareness and were calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. Schafer attended the protest and participated in chants while wearing a black shirt that said, "Cease Fire Now." While the protest did garner attention, Jewish Voice for Peace NYC, the group leading the protest, revealed Schafer and several protestors were arrested in the process. They said, "Hunter was arrested at the protest, along with 50 other people. We commend her commitment to Palestinian freedom and to a future of justice for everyone."

Hunter Schafer wanted to be seen

Hunter Schafer is a confident woman taking on the world, but it took a long time to get to that mindset. Throughout her life, the "Euphoria" star has dove into different projects in hopes of being seen. She explained to Allure, "When you think about it, [my work] has this common thread of creating the identity of a person."

Schafer has many talents, creating comics, modeling, and acting, all of which share that common theme of establishing a character. She said, "Telling stories or trying to portray a message through a body, how that body looks in a garment, and how the garment affects the way the body moves; to modeling, which is bringing garments to life with your body; then to acting, which is bringing a character to life with your body and mind. It feels linked in a lot of ways." Ultimately, creating an identity of a person is her way of trying to be seen. "That's been the project of my life. Just trying to feel seen and learn how to see others correctly," she explained.

Now more than ever, Schafer is being seen but isn't letting it overwhelm her. She told Elle, "I am trying to make an effort to not get lost in the sauce of all this stuff, because you can kind of get swept up in it." Schafer has held a great mindset navigating fame and feeling seen, but it has taken some work to get there.