Written by Melanie Burton, June 6, 2016

Well, we didn’t see this one coming!

Sure, Game Of Thrones is famed for it’s realistic depiction of sex, but who knew one of its stars used to be a prostitute IRL?

Yep, actress Josephine Gillan, who plays raven-headed prostitute Marei, has opened up about her shocking, secret past.

“Game Of Thrones saved me from a life of prostitution, and has made me a much stronger person,” she tells Mail Online.

“I was working as a whore and at the same time making X-rated movies, using the name Sophie O’Brien, when I saw an advert on a website for actresses in the film industry. They were looking for young women with natural breasts and no tattoos, who didn’t mind being filmed naked. So I immediately sent in a picture.”

“They wrote back that they wanted me and I was thrilled because it was an amazing opportunity to do some proper acting. But I had no idea how much it would change my life,” she says.


Marei in Game Of Thrones

In the revealing chat, Josephine also bravely opens up about her tragic childhood that involved sex abuse, alcohol and drugs. She went to 24 different primary schools while her mum was trying to leave a violent relationship, before being taken into care at 12 and then fostered.

“They put me in a household where I was groomed by a family friend, who gave me cannabis and alcohol when I was 12 and got me hooked on cocaine when I was 14. He raped me two years later and then pimped me out to his friends. I was too frightened to tell anyone because he threatened to bury me in the garden if I did. He said he’d done it before and I believed him,” she says.

Josephine Gillan plays Marei in the TV programme Game of Thrones, she is a prostitute in the King's Landing brothel owned by Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish Image from Josephine Gillan Twitter page - for Nikki

In one of the raunchy scenes

Sadly, she explains that her childhood experiences then left her feeling unworthy of a proper relationship, so she broke off an engagement and turned to prostitution to make ends meet.

But when she arrived on the Game Of Thrones set, although she was understandably nervous, she says she soon realised there were loads of actresses with a similar background.

And now Josephine wants to use the success to seek more ‘normal’ roles – admitting she’s sick of getting asked if she actually has sex in the show’s brothel scenes.

“People ask me all the time if we are at it for real and I reply, ‘Are dragons or zombies real?'” she says. “The reality is that the male actors are so uncomfortable doing sex scenes that I can usually feel them shaking nervously under me. I think they suffer from performance anxiety, because they are almost naked and there are usually about 30 crew members on set.”

Sounds, um, intimate!

Full Game Of Thrones Season Six trailer