Thandie Newton turned to books when she couldn't get attention from boys.

The 39-year-old actress insists she wasn't popular with the opposite sex when she was growing up so spent her spare time reading romantic novels to "make sense" of the feelings she had.

She explained: "I lost myself in reading as a teen. Wasn't the girl who boys saw themselves being involved with; I lived in a small town and you weren't going to go out with the black girl.

"So these sweeping stories taught me about love and romance. Reading was the only way I could make sense of the hormones coursing through my body."

Thandie also admitted she has learned a lot from the dark times in her life.

Discussing why she loves Pema Chodron's book 'When Things Fall Apart', she told Britain's Elle magazine: "I read this at a difficult time and found it incredibly comforting.

"The moment Chodron realised she had to make a change in her life was when her husband told her he'd been having an affair and was leaving her. The rage she felt was so powerful, it made her see that she needed to temper it with compassion.

"But it was that rage that led her to a huge epiphany of love and that is certainly something I've encountered in my life.

"The most painful and difficult times have been the key to wisdom, understanding and deep love."