Natalie Portman has been acting for decades — and she had breakout roles in films like Leon: The Professional and Beautiful Girls as a teenager.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, Natalie explained how she was sexualized by the press as a teenager — and how it affected the decisions she made later in her career.
“I think, in that time, it was very normal,” she said. “Some of it was the types of roles that were being written and some of it was the way journalists felt entitled to write about it.”
“I remember reading a review of myself when I was about 13 that mentioned my breast buds,” she recalled.
Natalie said that, because of the way the press sexualized her, she “put on all these defenses” while making specific career choices — which included turning down scripts with sex scenes.
“It was like, I’m not going to be seen that way,” she said, “because it felt like a vulnerable position and also a less respectable position, in some way, to be characterized like that.”
This isn’t the first time Natalie’s spoken out about being sexualized as a child actor. She also talked about her experience making Beautiful Girls in November of 2020.
During an interview with Dax Shepard on his Armchair Expert podcast, Natalie said that the 1996 film — in which her 13-year-old character and an adult played by Timothy Hutton develop feelings for each other — portrayed her character as a “Lolita figure.”
“Being sexualized as a child, I think, took away from my own sexuality because it made me afraid,” she said. “The way I could be safe was to be like, ‘I’m conservative,’ and ‘I’m serious and you should respect me,’ and ‘I’m smart,’ and ‘Don’t look at me that way.'”