A Hollywood beef between Natalie Portman and Jessica Simpson? Not so fast.
Earlier this month, the two stars unexpectedly popped up in the same headline after the designer called out the Oscar winner on social media about comments she had recently made regarding a magazine cover Simpson posed for decades ago.
The confusion began after Portman gave an interview to USA Today, in which the Vox Lux star discussed the “virgin/vixen paradigms” she saw in the music industry as a young adult. “I remember being a teenager, and there was Jessica Simpson on the cover of a magazine saying ‘I’m a virgin’ while wearing a bikini, and I was confused. Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl,” she told the newspaper.
Simpson caught wind of the remarks and issued a response online, writing, “I was disappointed this morning when I read that I ‘confused’ you by wearing a bikini in a published photo taken of me when I was still a virgin in 1999. As public figures, we both know our image is not totally in our control at all times, and that the industry we work in often tries to define us and box us in. However, I was taught to be myself and honor the different ways all women express themselves, which is why I believed then- and I believe now- that being sexy in a bikini and being proud of my body are not synonymous with having sex.”
She continued, “I have always embraced being a role model to all women to let them know that they can look however they want, wear whatever they want and have sex or not have sex with whomever they want. The power lies within us as individuals. I have made it my practice to not shame other women for their choices. In this era of Time’s Up and all the great work you have done for women, I encourage you to do the same.”
Portman heard the star loud and clear, commenting back, “Thank you for your words. I completely agree with you that a woman should be allowed to dress however she likes and behave however she likes and not be judged. I only meant to say I was confused – as a girl coming of age in the public eye around the same time – by the media’s mixed messages about how girls and women were supposed to behave. I didn’t mean to shame you and I’m sorry for any hurt my words may have caused. I have nothing but respect for your talent and your voice that you use to encourage and empower women all over the globe.”
In response to a viewer on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen on Tuesday, Portman said they have not spoken privately since their public back-and-forth. However, she made clear that there is no fight between them.
“I have only respect and good feelings for her,” Portman said on the late-night show. Taking the topic one step further, she used the situation as an example of how women should support each other.
“There’s no need for beef between women,” the mother of two told Cohen. “We’re all in the same society and living with the same pressures and we’re allies.”
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