Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown hasn’t been as active on social media in the past year or so, and in a new interview she’s explained why.

In a new Allure cover story, Brown said that her relationship with social media soured as she began to receive hateful messages and disturbing sexualized messages from adult men.

“It’s really hard to be hated on when you don’t know who you are yet,” said Brown, who deleted both her Twitter and TikTok accounts last year. “So it’s like, ‘What do they hate about me?’ ‘Cause I don’t know who I am.'”

The young actor turned 18 in February this year, but she made her debut as Eleven in the beloved Netflix series when she was just 12. Due to the overnight success of Stranger Things, which is among the most popular shows on the streaming platform, she was forced into the spotlight when still coming of age. 

"You’re like, ‘Who am I meant to be? Who do they need me to be for them?’ Then I started to grow more, and my family and friends really helped," she continued. "It helped to be able to understand that I don’t need to be anything they said that I need to be. I just have to develop within myself. That’s what I did."

Elsewhere in the interview, the actress addressed what she called an “unhealthy situation” with TikTok star Hunter Ecimovic, who claimed he “groomed” the young actress and got into a sexual relationship with her when she was a minor. She cut ties with him in January 2021, and revealed that she dealt with the fallout from the situation while filming the fourth season of Stranger Things

“I felt very vulnerable,” she said. “Also, no one on the set knew I was going through this. So it was kind of nice to be able to just deal with that myself and no one else knew. Then it was harder when the whole world knew.” She described the relationship with Ecimovic as a “blip,” and she had already begun dating her current boyfriend Jake Bongiovi by the time he made the claims.

"When you get publicly humiliated this way, I felt so out of control and powerless. Walking away and knowing that I’m worth everything and this person didn’t take anything from me, it felt very empowering," she added. "It felt like my life had finally turned a page and that I actually had ended a chapter that felt so fucking long. Ultimately, all I wanted to do within my career is help young girls and young people out there know that I, too, go through things. I’m not this perfect person that is selling skin-care products and [who is] in Stranger Things. I absolutely have made wrong decisions.” 

Read the full   feature with Brown here.