'I have nothing but respect for your talent': Natalie Portman issues public apology after being called out by Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson and Natalie Portman. Image via Getty Images.
Jessica Simpson and Natalie Portman. Image via Getty Images.

Words: Elizabeth Di Filippo

Jessica Simpson is not happy with Natalie Portman.

The 38-year-old singer and designer has taken to social media to clear up any “confusion” Portman may have after being named dropped by the Oscar-winner in a recent article.

Earlier this week, USA Today published an interview with Portman ahead of her new movie, ‘Vox Lux’. In the film, the 37-year-old actor plays a troubled pop star and talked about growing up in an era where pop music was dominated by provocative artists like Madonna.

Portman said she “felt lucky” to grow up listening to Madonna who she called “brazen and disobedient.” However, the “Black Swan” star says she was troubled when pop music shifted, and presented female artists as sexual objects falling into one of two categories: Virgin or vixen.

Simpson in 2000. Image via Getty Images.
Simpson in 2000. Image via Getty Images.

I remember being a teenager, and there was Jessica Simpson on the cover of a magazine saying ‘I’m a virgin’ while wearing a bikini, and I was confused. Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl,” Portman said, referencing the pop star’s commitment to remain a virgin until marriage.

While the article doesn’t delve further into her thoughts about Simpson, the 38-year-old mom took to Instagram to express her dismay at Portman’s comments.

“I was disappointed this morning when I read that I ‘confused’ you by wearing a bikini in a published photo of me taken when I was still a virgin in 1999,” Simpson began. “As public figures, we both know our image is not totally in our control at all times, and that the industry we work in often tries to define us and box us in.”

Simpson continued that she was raised to “honour” the ways women choose to express themselves.

“I believed then, and I believe now, that being sexy in a bikini and being proud of my body are not synonymous with having sex,” she said.

Jessica Simpson and her husband, Eric Johnson with their two children. Image via Getty Images.
Jessica Simpson and her husband, Eric Johnson with their two children. Image via Getty Images.

The star, who is currently pregnant with her third child, writes that she prides herself in being a role model and encourages all women to “look however they want, wear whatever they want and have sex or not have sex with whomever they want. The power lies within us as individuals.”

Simpson ends by encouraging Portman to refrain from judging other women or shame them for their choices by adding, “In this era of Time’s Up and all the great work you have done for women, I encourage you to do the same.”

Portman apologised on Wednesday after Simpson’s note made headlines.

“I would never intend to shame anybody and that was absolutely not my intention,” Portman told Entertainment Tonight. “I was really talking about mixed media messages out there for young women and completely apologise for any hurt it may have caused because that was definitely not my intention.”

She continued, “What I said was I was confused by mixed messages when I was a young girl growing up, and there are a lot of messages for how women should be, and women should be allowed to do whatever they want.”

“It is a mistake to say anyone’s name,” she added. “I could have made my message without naming.”

Portman also commented directly on Simpson’s Instagram and apologised, writing, “I didn’t mean to shame you and I’m sorry for any hurt my words may have caused.”

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