Long before Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar, she was just another student struggling to figure out her future. That is, until she left school at the age of 14 to pursue an acting career.
“I dropped out of middle school,” Lawrence, now 27, says in a sneak peek of her interview with 60 Minutes’ Bill Whitaker. “I don’t technically have a GED or a diploma. I am self-educated.”
But the Hunger Games actress doesn’t regret her decision. “No, I really don’t. I wanted to forge my own path,” she explains. “I found what I wanted to do and I didn’t want anything getting in the way of it. Even friends, for many years, were not as important to me as my career from the age of 14.”
After all, Lawrence says she never fit in back home in Louisville, Kentucky. “I struggled through school. I never felt very smart,” she admits. “And when I’m reading this [Red Sparrow] script, and I feel like I know exactly what it would look like if somebody felt that way. That was a whole part of my brain that I didn’t know existed — something that I could be confident in, and I didn’t want to let it go.”
The Silver Linings Playbook star says she knew early on that acting was her calling. “It’s hard to explain. It’s just an overwhelming feeling of, ‘I get this. This is what I was meant to do,’” she explains. “And to get people to try to understand that when you’re 14 years old, wanting to drop out of school and do this, and your parents are just like, ‘You’re out of your mind.’”
Lawrence’s full interview with 60 Minutes airs on CBS on Sunday, February 25, at 7 p.m. ET.