Megan Fox is a martyr—or so she once believed.
The actress graces the December cover of Cosmopolitan U.K. (on newsstands Oct. 30), in which she speaks candidly about her public firing from the Transformers franchise in 2009. Around that time, in an interview with Wonderland, she spoke ill of director Michael Bay, saying, "He wants to create this insane, infamous madman reputation. He wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is." Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was cast as Fox's replacement, and in 2011, Bay told GQ producer Steven Spielberg had told him to "fire" Fox. (Spielberg later denied his claim.)
Fox and Bay eventually made peace, and the actress went on to star in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film franchise (which he produced). Still, life after Transformers wasn't easy. "That was absolutely the low point of my career. But without 'that thing,' I wouldn't have learned as quickly as I did. All I had to do was apologize—and I refused. I was so self-righteous at 23, I couldn't see [that] it was for the greater good," Fox admits. "I really thought I was Joan of Arc."
The fallout was instant. "It hurt me and a lot of other people. However, that darkness that descended caused enormous and brisk spiritual growth, " she tells the magazine. "Once I realized I'd brought it on myself, it was an invaluable learning experience, looking back on it."
Today, motherhood is Fox's priority. "I would never pick work over life. I'm the least ambitious actress! I pick movies that'll be fun to make. I'm not here to suffer for the art of movie-making or 'bleed for the craft.' And I'm not going to be an actress forever," says Fox, who also co-owns a luxury lingerie company, Frederick's of Hollywood. "I've always known I have another calling."
Fox isn't turning her back on acting altogether, but she does hope to be seen as more than a sexpot onscreen. "I still get offered a lot of 'genius strippers' and 'funny escorts' by guys in the business," she says. "But I don't want to be involved with something genuinely degrading, or that encourages negative sexual ideals about women. Old-school male attitudes towards women, it's still in all the adverts. When my kids grow up, hopefully that attitude will be gone."
To be clear, she says, "I'm not ashamed of sexy poses or parts. Women shouldn't go out of their way to be dowdy. Being feminine is a very sexy thing. It's just a biological fact: sex does sell. But I wish it were more gender equal. I'm happy to buy some sex, too. It's not wrong; it just needs to go both ways. Women shouldn't have to carry the burden. And I think we have so far."
While Fox loves acting, she doesn't like being a celebrity. "I understand I'm a product—but I don't have to like it," Fox, 31, tells Cosmopolitan U.K. "The truth is, I'm actually very private."
The full interview appears in the December issue of Cosmopolitan U.K.