Christina Ricci believes her sanity "comes and goes".

Christina Ricci

Christina Ricci

The 'Z: The Beginning of Everything' actress - who began her film career when she was nine years old - admits she took a long time to grow up because working at such a young age meant her life with "strange".

She said: "I lost it for a while. The sanity comes and goes, and then you get it back I think. That's pretty normal for people.

"I had such a strange and specific upbringing that it's hard to contextualise - it took me longer to grow up because it was such a bizarre experience."

As a teenager, Christina - who has two-year-old son Freddie with husband James Heeredegen - was gripped by eating disorder anorexia and also "didn't speak" in a bid to gain control of her life and avoid criticism.

She told Stella magazine: "I was 14 and I felt very scrutinised, and my reaction to that was to grab any control I could.

"I said other people's words all the time, I behaved the way people told me to, I wore clothes that other people told me to wear.

"The only thing I could control was what I put in my mouth. If I was thin, nobody would be able to criticise my weight, and if I was quiet nobody would be able to criticise what I said.

"At that time I didn't speak either; I taught myself to always count to 10 before I spoke."

On Christina's first movie, starring in 'Mermaids' opposite Cher and Winona Ryder, she admits she was "convinced" everyone was in love with her and felt "so sad" she wasn't of legal age.

She recalled: "I was always convinced that everyone was in love with me; I thought they must all be so sad that I wasn't 18. I really did think that."