It's never an easy rise to the top in Tinseltown, and sometimes when you reach the peak, the struggle only seems more daunting.
"This fame thing? F--ked me up for a really long time," Anne Hathaway admits in the November issue of Elle U.K.while smouldering on the cover in a sexy black pantsuit teamed with crimson lips. "I didn't know how to do it; I didn't know how to engage with it; it stressed me out. And people would say, 'You just have to be yourself,' and I was like, 'But I don't know who that is yet!'"
Following her triumphant 2013 awards season, including an Oscar win for her role in Les Misérables, the 31-year-old star found herself on the receiving end of criticism and even took a break from the Hollywood spotlight, later telling the Huffington Post, "My impression is that people needed a break from me."
But now Hathaway is back in full force and will soon be seen opposite Matthew McConaughey in the Christopher Nolan-directed sci-fi flick Interstellar, which hits theaters Nov. 7.
"The man speaks in poetry," she says of McConaughey, who is famous for his often head-scratching discourse. "I remember once while we were filming, something got screwed up, and he said to me: 'Look, we can get upset about this, or we can go with it and have a great story for the rest of our lives.'"
In addition to making movies, the Devil Wears Prada star has also been focusing on her marriage after tying the knot with longtime love Adam Shulman in September 2012.
"The first year of my marriage was insane. So much happened so fast, and we didn't get to focus on just being married until about a year in," she admits. "So now, it's just about letting myself feel safe…There was a part of me that I was keeping in reserve, and when I got married, something shifted…That question of, 'How long's this gonna last?' is off the table. And when you're not worried about that, there's space to just be silly."
Clearly, Hathaway has learned not to let the critics faze her and has in turn become a more confident woman.
"I've realized that don't need validation from anybody. At all," she says. "I'm not sitting here now worrying, 'What do you think of me?' With all due respect, you seem like a lovely lady, but I don't need you, or anyone else, to like me. And that's so liberating. It's a big reveal, man."