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Alexandra Daddario's Tragic True Life Story

The last few years have been quite fortuitous for Alexandra Daddario. While she's had many mainstream successes in the past, between the "Percy Jackson" films, her stint on "True Detective," and other projects, the actress has more recently experienced a sort of career renaissance. Her starring role in HBO's anthology series "The White Lotus" as Rachel, a newlywed having second thoughts about her marriage while on her honeymoon, garnered her a new level of critical acclaim, along with an Emmy nomination for outstanding supporting actress in a limited series. 

Following "The White Lotus," Daddario continued her takeover of television with a starring role in the cast of AMC's second Anne Rice adaptation, "Mayfair Witches," which is already in production for its second season. On top of all that long-awaited career momentum, Daddario also got married in 2022, putting an end to a long history of romance rumors following her and several co-stars from some of her previous projects.

While things may be looking sunny for the former "Baywatch" star, it wasn't an easy road for her to get here. Along the way, she's battled crippling fears, public scrutiny, career setbacks, and so much more. The true-life story of Alexandra Daddario may have a happy ending, but she's no stranger to tragic life events and struggle.  

Her family pressured her to pursue higher education

Unlike many people who get their start in entertainment, acting wasn't the obvious choice for Alexandra Daddario. The future "Percy Jackson" star notably grew up in a family of lawyers, including both of her parents. Surprisingly, they both encouraged Daddario to pursue a more artistic life than theirs, which resulted in her joining an acting class when she was 11. 

Very quickly, Daddario realized acting could provide something she wasn't getting out of her everyday life, as she told Flaunt. "I don't want to say I grew up in a rigid environment," she recalled, "but there was a lot of pressure on me to go to an Ivy League school and to get great grades and score really high on my SATs." While her parents were supportive of her acting pursuits, Daddario still felt like she was going against the grain by choosing a career that allowed her to lean on her emotions. 

Even at a young age, Daddario struggled with the level of emotionality required from acting, though she became enamored with techniques like sense memory that allowed her approach to be more methodical. Still, she felt very embarrassed as a young kid to share tragic, sad moments with acting classes as part of their exercises, though it later taught her to be vulnerable in her performances. 

She was fired from her first acting job

Alexandra Daddario's life took a major turn before she even graduated high school, when she was cast in the ABC soap opera "All My Children" at age 15 in the recurring role of Laurie. Almost immediately, she had to adjust to on-set schooling and the wild environment of television, especially how fickle and malleable the world of soaps was. Daddario's presence on the show coincided with a negative shift in public favor toward "All My Children," as the show began to focus on the younger characters following the depature of some major veteran cast members.  

After a year on "All My Children," appearing in over 40 episodes, Daddario was fired as part of a creative upheaval in the show's direction. However, Daddario sadly blamed herself for losing the job, telling Women's Health, "I wasn't a very good actress ... I knew something was wrong, but I knew I could fix it. I knew that I loved what I did and that I could be better."

In a more tragic version of this story, getting written off "All My Children" would have been the end of Daddario's stint as a professional actor. However, she instead continued to take classes and worked on improving her acting skills, becoming proficient in an acting exercise known as the Meisner technique. The journey to stardom may have hit a snag, but Daddario was still determined to persevere. 

She's had her fair share of bad auditions

It was a steady process for Alexandra Daddario before she landed the breakout role of Annabeth in the "Percy Jackson" movies. She continued to accrue minor roles in the years following her "All My Children" firing, including a bit part in Noah Baumbach's "The Squid and the Whale," as well as the horror film "The Attic" in 2007. However, Daddario still felt like she hadn't broken in yet, mainly due to not feeling like she was fully formed as an actor.

In an interview with Backstage, she described a failed audition for Fox's "Point Pleasant" when she was 17 years old that stood out as proof that she had a long way to go as a skilled actor. "I completely forgot my lines and completely blew the screen test," Daddario explained. "I was so close, and I was very upset with myself for a long time about that." Because Daddario was the only actress up for the part at that point in time, the show's producers had to go back to the drawing board after she fumbled the opportunity. 

Even after her big break years later, Daddario has still had less-than-ideal moments during auditions. In another interview with Backstage, she credits the auditioning process as a necessary hell, saying, "First you become a better auditioner, then you become a better actor and work on your confidence."

Hollywood forced her to overcome a fear of flying

Part of being an actor means confronting fears in order to convey authentic performances. Unfortunately for Alexandra Daddario, some of these fears are a frequent part of the job. In an interview with Collider, she opened up about one of the biggest phobias she's had to overcome throughout her career, citing without hesitation flying as something that used to terrify her. As she explained, "I used to really, really struggle with it. I still have it a little bit."

However, since the life of a mainstream actress requires her to be on airplanes quite often, she's gotten used to facing the fear and is no longer petrified by the prospect of flying. Even then, there are other fears she's expressed publicly that aren't so easy to overcome, such as her fear of germs, although she told People magazine, "I'm not type-A with that kind of thing. I am a germophobe but I'm not organized." Nevertheless, that phobia specifically inspired her to partner with Kleenex Wet Wipes, which she always brings with her on airplanes to stay sanitary. 

Her romance with a Percy Jackson co-star ended quietly

Prior to marrying producer Andrew Form in 2022, Alexandra Daddario had been notably private about her romantic life, though that didn't stop tabloid speculation and paparazzi from prying. In particular, she was linked to her "Percy Jackson" co-star Logan Lerman following the release of the first movie in 2010, when the two were spotted spending time together outside of press junkets and production. 

While neither Daddario nor Lerman ever confirmed the relationship, reports still insisted that they got engaged in 2014. By 2016, however, they had broken up, a sad ending to the love story that fans of the fantasy films may have wanted. Daddario later opened up to Women's Health about her active dating life, saying, "I'm really nervous around boys," and that "people have recognized me and it's embarrassing," in regard to her experience on dating apps. 

Logan Lerman wouldn't be the last co-star that Daddario was linked to. Around the release of "Baywatch," she was often spotted out and about with Zac Efron, who also starred in the movie. But Daddario personally denied the romantic connection despite reports to the contrary. It's a shame the two didn't take their on-screen romance off-screen, as even Daddario herself admits they would have had "very blue-eyed children" (via People).

She was intimidated about joining True Detective

While "Percy Jackson" introduced Alexandra Daddario to mainstream success, she'd reach a new height of recognition with her supporting role in the first season of HBO's "True Detective." Notably, her appearance in the second episode opposite Woody Harrelson saw the actress fully undress on-screen, with the scene going viral shortly after that, but maybe not for the right reasons. Daddario, for her part, was eager to be a part of "True Detective," nudity or not, as she told MTV News: "I really wanted to be part of the show, and I understood why the nudity and all of that was required of the character."

In the years since her "True Detective" episodes aired, Daddario has been less than open about the negative sides of performing a scene like that, but has admitted she did have reservations before shooting it. While she's seemingly flattered by the attention the scene has gotten online, she mostly tries to ignore it to avoid discomfort. She did, however, defend "True Detective" from accusations of misogyny in its portrayal of women, feeling that scenes like the one she did with Harrelson demonstrated important details about the lead characters. 

Many actors have refused to do nudity, fearing the trouble and embarrassment of being on set and dealing with the aftermath. Luckily for Daddario, powering through any unnerving feelings reaped benefits, as she began receiving offers almost immediately for projects like "San Andreas." 

Her career began to stall after Baywatch

Nude scene aside, "True Detective" Season 1 was a huge propelling force for Alexandra Daddario's career in the coming years. She was featured in "American Horror Story: Hotel," as well as film comedies like "Baywatch" and "The Layover," although the latter two were both critical and commercial failures. Before she knew it, the forward momentum that seemed to emerge from "True Detective" fizzled out, and Daddario ended up feeling a little directionless in her career.

As she described to Women's Health, "In the couple years prior to the pandemic, I knew the work I needed to be doing, but it just wasn't happening." She often found herself typecast in roles that required her to show off her body like in "True Detective," resulting in prominent bathing suit scenes in both "Baywatch" and "The Layover." Clearly, becoming a celebrity with sex appeal was something Daddario had to get used to if her career was going to continue down that path. 

Fortunately, she was saved thanks to a phone call from Mike White, who invited her to join the cast of his new HBO series, "The White Lotus," which was filming in Hawaii. Though it was a difficult shoot due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was well worth the opportunity to be a part of what soon would become one of the hottest new shows on TV. 

Daddario opened up about her #MeToo experiences

The end of the 2010s saw a lot changing in Hollywood for women, with the #MeToo movement dominating the cultural conversation. Many actors, musicians, and other professionals began speaking up about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault by powerful individuals in the entertainment industry. While some celebrities were incredibly vocal about what they had gone through, others — such as Alexandra Daddario — chose to be more private about their experiences.

During an interview promoting "The Layover," Daddario was supportive of women speaking out, admitting (via Yahoo! News), "I've had my own problems, [but] not with anyone who's been spoken about in the press." She related to fellow victims who were terrified of speaking up out of fear of being ostracized by Hollywood, and added that experiences like those shared in the #MeToo movement were universal for women across the world.

Daddario has also been supportive of ways to make women feel safer in the entertainment industry, such as requiring intimacy coordinators on set for nudity or sex scenes. Considering that Daddario rose to prominence in a pre-#MeToo industry, she's likely had a lot of awful stories to tell about the way women like her have been treated. As she told InStyle, "If some people feel like it's sort of an overcorrection, I think it's much better than not doing anything about it."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

She related deeply to her White Lotus character

With hindsight being 20/20, Mike White's offer to Alexandra Daddario inviting her to join his anthology series "The White Lotus" was a Hail Mary to end all Hail Marys. The actress stunned audiences as Rachel, whose romantic hotel getaway with Jake Lacy's Shane in the first season slowly begins to crack under the pressure of his mom, played by Molly Shannon, crashing their honeymoon. Her performance was acclaimed by critics, with TVLine crediting her work in the season finale as "heartbreaking," adding, "It almost hurt to watch Daddario in the final episode." 

The pain in Rachel's story couldn't have been portrayed so beautifully if it didn't come from Daddario's life experience. Thanks to the acting classes she took as a kid, she dug deep for the messy conclusion of the character's arc. In an interview with Time magazine, Daddario cited the character's closing moments as something she could relate to: "I had experienced in my life, on more than one occasion, a huge pressure to be happy ... I've definitely felt that before where you bounce around, trying to be happy for somebody else who really isn't listening to why you're really unhappy."

Daddario's work in "The White Lotus" didn't go unnoticed, as the actress received her first Emmy nomination alongside co-stars Connie Britton, Natasha Rothwell, Sydney Sweeney, and Jennifer Coolidge (who won the award). 

She had a scary confrontation with a stalker

Alexandra Daddario has starred in plenty of horror films throughout her career, among them "Bereavement," "Texas Chainsaw 3D," and "We Summon The Darkness." However, the actress lived her own horror movie for a brief moment in 2022 when she was confronted by a stalker in her Los Angeles home. It was reported early in the year that Daddario had called the police on David Cako, who allegedly showed up at her front door while she was home with her then-fiancé. 

As Daddario wrote in her official statement to police (via Radar Online), she immediately suspected something wasn't right with the individual and slammed the door, claiming, "He was sitting on a fountain in my front yard and staring at my house." When police apprehended Cako, they discovered a loaded gun in his car, indicating that his intentions may have turned worse had Daddario not acted quickly.

To make matters even more terrifying, Cako accused Daddario in his statement to police of being the one who was stalking him, through satellites and hidden messages in her YouTube videos. Despite Cako being released on bail, Daddario apparently hasn't seen the stranger again, but did have to move out of her home as a safety precaution. 

Mayfair Witches wasn't her only brush with the supernatural

Following her renewed success on "The White Lotus," Alexandra Daddario has stayed in the world of television for her latest endeavor. In 2023, she began starring in AMC's "Mayfair Witches," based on Anne Rice's trilogy of novels, as Rowan Fielding, a neurosurgeon who discovers she's part of a dynasty of witches and learns to come into her own powers. With a second season of "Mayfair Witches" already on the way, Daddario seems right at home in the supernatural realm — though it hasn't been her first exposure to the paranormal.

While on the set of "Texas Chainsaw 3D" in Louisiana, Daddario was present for a chilling incident that she recounted on The Kelly Clarkson Show. While filming in a random house for one scene, a female crew member suddenly began crying and refused to enter the house, claiming to have seen a woman yelling at them to leave a room. Later, the crew learned that the homeowner's wife had passed away in that same room, with Daddario adding, "There was no way for her to know about it ... but that always creeps me out because I've never found an explanation for it."

Elsewhere while promoting "Mayfair Witches," Daddario clarified that she doesn't exactly believe in magic or the supernatural, so perhaps that's all the comfort she needs to not be kept up at night thinking about that story. 

Daddario has faced self-image issues

There's plenty of good and bad that comes with being a public figure on any level, but it's especially challenging for women. Alexandra Daddario has been pretty open about her struggles with confidence, beauty standards, and the pressure of public attention. While she might be in a better place now with regard to how she handles things, there have been times when she's had to embrace being "a mess" in the public eye.

As she described to British Vogue, "There's a lot of pressure — especially for women — to be perfect all the time and to look perfect and have sort of this perfect life. But it's about embracing all the different parts of yourself." As she's gotten older, she's also come to value the relationships in her life over digital connection, and tries to find any and all opportunities to reach out to others. Part of this mindset comes from her experience playing characters for a living, and having to let go of her own personal ego for a performance.

More than anything else, Daddario's love for yoga has gotten her through stages of her life where she didn't feel confident. Between exercise, beauty regimens, and even just dressing in outfits that make her feel comfortable, Daddario leans on many self-help methods to counter the negativity in her life, which might be a way we can all cope with the tragic things we experience from time to time.