"[It] was as heavy as you can get to dismantle a family," says Moretz

By Lindsay Kimble
Updated January 07, 2016 02:40 PM
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Karl Taro Greenfeld

Chloë Grace Moretz has tackled more than most at age 18 – and not just onscreen.

The 5th Wave star tells Marie Claire for its February cover story that she was “toughened up a lot” when her parents divorced when she was younger.

“It made me harder on myself,” Moretz explains of the split. “[It] was as heavy as you can get to dismantle a family, for sure.”

Moretz’s father “just left,” in her words, leaving her, her mother and four brothers to fend for themselves.

“When you’re betrayed by someone that is a bloodline, you start to beware trusting people and to protect yourself at all costs,” Moretz says. “For a long time, I did that too much. I wasn’t letting people in.”

The fear of letting people in might also have an impact on Moretz’s dating life – the teen is hesitant to get into any sort of serious relationship.

“I don’t want to date older people, because I’m 18 and older people are more serious,” she tells Marie Claire. “Then I kind of realized, I’ll go on dates, why not? And that’s kind of how I am right now.”

Moretz insists that she’s “not looking for a while” – well, at least until she’s “like 23.”

It helps that she’s more comfortable in her body these days. Moretz says that when she was filming Carrie two years ago at age 16, she was filled with self-doubt, egged on by online criticisms.

“I felt fat; I felt not pretty,” she says. “I felt like I didn’t really know who I was. I was so confused; I was scared. I had bad acne. I felt incredibly insecure.”

But growing up changed her mindset.

“I’m so free now. I don’t know what happened, but when I turned 17, this huge weight was lifted off my shoulders,” Moretz says. “I don’t worry about what people say about me. I know who I am, who I want to be, what I want to portray myself as, what I want people to think of me.”

Which can only help her blossoming career – Moretz was just tapped to step into The Little Mermaid‘s iconic shoes – err, fins.