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Keira Knightley, Writers Guild Awards

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for WGAw

Keira Knightley became a target of the paparazzi at about 18 years old when she co-starred alongside Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

And the throngs of photographers following her every move was brutal.

"Having 20 to 30 men who you don't know on a 24-hour surveillance outside your house calling you a 'whore' every time you leave the door to try to get a reaction from you is quite a difficult thing to deal with," Knightley said last night at a TimesTalks and TIFF Q&A with her Imitation Game co-star Benedict Cumberbatch.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightely

Hugh Hamilton at Hugh Hamilton Photography

"It was a time when there was a lot of money for pictures of women crying or of women in some state of undress," she continued. "You'd walk down he street and you'd have men trying to get under your skirt to take pictures up your skirt and all the time calling you a 'whore' or all the time spitting at you or all the time trying to get a reaction from the guy you were with because it would make the price of that photograph quadruple."

Cumberbatch summed up it pretty well when he said, "It's just disgusting behavior."

Fortunately, Knightley said things are "completely different" for her now.

"I think there's a certain point where you get married, you get pregnant and they're like, 'Hey, she's not going out and getting drunk,'" said Knightley, who is expecting her and hubby James Righton's first baby. "I think there is a level that you grow out of it."

Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game

The Weinstein Company

Cumberbatch had just flown into L.A. yesterday from the U.K., where he married Sophie Hunter on Valentine's Day.

When the the panel moderator alluded to the wedding by saying, "Congratulations, your personal life has changed recently," Cumberbatch raised an eyebrow and joked, "Has it?" (FYI: We did notice that he fiddled a bit with his shiney new wedding band,)

Both Knightley and Cumberbatch are up for Oscars for their work in The Imitation Game, the true story of Alan Turing, a British mathematician who broke the Nazi code during WWII. He later committed suicide after being prosecuted for being gay and undergoing court-ordered chemical castration.

The Oscars will be handed out on Feb. 22 during a live telecast on ABC starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.