Over the years, Kate Winslet has won one Academy Award, three Golden Globes and three BAFTAs. Yet, those accomplishments have been seemingly overshadowed by tabloid journalist's fixation on her appearances.
The Titanic actress spoke about the media's "straight-up cruel" criticism of her weight in a new interview with The Guardian, published Sunday, Feb. 21, describing how demoralizing it was to see headlines about her body.
"It was almost laughable how shocking, how critical, how straight-up cruel tabloid journalists were to me," she recalled. "I was still figuring out who the hell I bloody well was! They would comment on my size, they'd estimate what I weighed, they'd print the supposed diet I was on. It was critical and horrible and so upsetting to read."
The 45 year old added she was frequently asked for "comment" on her own appearance. And when she responded as requested, she said, "Well, then I got this label of being ballsy and outspoken. No, I was just defending myself."
Now, the actress said she looks back at those stories criticizing her weight when she was a teen, and she feels "moved," because of how "different" it is compared to now.
At the time, the Academy Award-winner said the reports "damaged my confidence," making her reconsider a future in the acting world. She reflected, "I didn't want to go to Hollywood because I remember thinking, ‘God, if this is what they're saying to me in England, then what will happen when I get there?' Also, it tampers with your evolving impression of what's beautiful, you know? I did feel very on my own. For the simple reason that nothing can really prepare you for… that."
However, that all changed for Winslet, she said, when she and ex-husband Jim Threapleton welcomed their daughter, Mia, 20. She said of becoming a mother, "And so all that s--t just kind of… evaporated."
The actress is also very conscious of how her body and sexuality is portrayed in her new movie Ammonite, in which she and Saoirse Ronan play lovers. She explained that taking on a character who was subjected to discrimination and gender inequity "made me feel like I had to hold myself accountable for times when I've maybe been complicit in the objectification of my own self in film. The things I agreed to. Body positions, or the way I was lit or how few clothes I wore."
Winslet continued, describing how her and Ronan's love scenes have been made out to seem graphic in nature when, in truth, it's an intimate moment between two people who both happen to be women.
"But I have been asked so, so many times about the intimate scenes in Ammonite, way more than I have ever been asked about any heterosexual love scene before. When I have, it's been comparisons—how was Leo compared with Jude? So embarrassing, so naff," she discussed. "But what happens with the discussion of LGBTQ love scenes is that people actually use different words to describe them."
"‘Searingly erotic,'" Winslet continued, "‘Titillating,' things that describe the impact that the scene might have on an audience, rather than the content of the scene itself. It really pisses me off, actually... The relationship is a part of the story. It's nothing to do with fear, or secrecy. It's about two people who fall in love."
The interview later turned to her participation in movies made by Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, two men who have been accused of sexual misconduct, though they both deny any wrongdoing. In recent years, the actress has apologized for working with the directors, who are now considered pariahs in the movie industry.
She remarked that it wasn't always this way, that it was once an honor to work with the men. Even so, Winslet acknowledged, "It's just unbelievable to me now that those men have been held in such high regard in this industry, and for such a long time. I defy anyone in the acting community to deny that parts in their movies were heavily coveted. And that's only just changed."
Winslet has previously said filming Wonder Wheel with Allen was a mistake, and she now admits, "I'll probably always grapple with those regrets."