Actress KEIRA KNIGHTLEY has opened up about her decision to take a hiatus after filming THE DUCHESS in 2007, revealing she reached a breaking point with the paparazzi and needed to step back from the spotlight to protect her image.
The 27 year old's popularity surged after taking on a leading role in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and she was constantly followed by snappers, who turned her private life into a living hell.
Knightley reveals she grew so tired of the press watching her every move, she packed a suitcase and went on a railway tour across Europe for nine months.
She tells Allure magazine, "There was a time when the price of photographs were going up for (famous) women in any state of undress or mental turmoil or anything. The men who get paid for taking these pictures were getting incredibly hostile - nearly violent - and we're talking about packs of about 20 of them, shouting at me, spitting at me, trying to pick fights with every guy you're out with, in order to produce a picture and get a lot of money.
"And it was getting particularly nasty. The price of everybody's head was going up. Some people went the legal route. And I ran... I'd hit a wall and needed to step back in order to learn the things I needed to learn."
And the actress insists she enjoyed her time away from the spotlight: "(I) looked out of windows. Read a lot of books."