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Kate Winslet Said Criticism Of Her Body Following "Titanic" Was "Shocking" And "Straight-Up Cruel"

"I got this label of being ballsy and outspoken. No, I was just defending myself."

Posted on February 22, 2021, at 6:10 a.m. ET

Kate Winslet is speaking up about the constant public scrutiny of her body early in her career, calling the experience "horrible and so upsetting."

Daniel Zuchnik / Getty Images

In an interview with the Guardian on Sunday, the now 45-year-old reflected on the media attention she received following her breakout role in Titanic, which shot her to stardom aged just 22.

Paramount Pictures

The interviewer recalls a "joke" from late comedian Joan Rivers, who suggested after Winslet was nominated for an Academy Award for the role that her weight was the reason the ship had sunk.

"In my twenties, people would talk about my weight a lot," Winslet acknowledged.

"I would be called to comment on my physical self," she went on. "Then I got this label of being ballsy and outspoken. No, I was just defending myself."

She went on to call her treatment by tabloid journalists "shocking," "laughable," and "straight-up cruel," admitting that the criticism was upsetting to read.

John Phillips / Getty Images

"I was still figuring out who the hell I bloody well was!" Winslet said. "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."

Hal Garb / Getty Images

She added that while she's grateful things have somewhat improved for young women in recent years, the constant comments on her body "damaged her confidence."

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

"I didn’t want to go to Hollywood," Winslet explained. "Because I remember thinking, 'God, if this is what they're saying to me in England, then what will happen when I get there?'"

She continued: "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."

In an interview on Marc Maron's WTF podcast last month, Winslet opened up further about the scrutiny she faced in the media, admitting that she felt "bullied."

Carl Court / Getty Images

"[After Titanic came out], I went into self-protective mode right away," Winslet said on the podcast. "It was like night and day from one day to the next. I was subject to a lot of personal physical scrutiny, I was criticized a lot, and the British press were quite unkind to me."

"I remember thinking, This is horrible, and I hope it passes," she went on. "It did definitely pass, but it made me realize that, if that's what being famous was, I was not ready to be famous."

Read Kate Winslet's full interview with the Guardian here.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.