The self-effacing and slapstick Emma Stone rarely gives serious interviews.
But the 26-year-old has spoken candidly about how she reacted to her personal email address and phone number being revealed in the Sony Hack published on WikiLeaks a couple of weeks ago and addressed those rumours surrounding her relationship with Andrew Garfield.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Stone said that when she found out her contact details had been released, “I did one of the worst things ever, which was react really quickly. I was getting all these emails and texts from people I didn’t know—‘Hi, I’m Joe from the U.K. I like your movies’—and I was so overwhelmed that I went to my inbox and I deleted all my emails.”
“In about a 30-second span, I hit ‘Select All’ and ‘Delete Forever,’ and thousands of emails, like six years of emails, are now gone forever. I was just so freaked out that someone was in there.”
It turned out her account itself hadn’t been hacked, but that provided her little comfort. “It was horrible. I cried for like an hour. Most of the emails I’m mourning I can still talk to the person and get them back. But there’s others where the person is actually gone. It really sucks.”
When asked how many unwanted emails she must have gotten to prompt such a response, she replied sheepishly with grin, “No, no. It was probably five emails and five texts. I just went there.”
Stone does not like her privacy to be tampered with. The status of her long-term relationship with actor Andrew Garfield, 31, is the subject of countless tabloid headlines, and most recently she sparked further speculation that the couple had broken up when she was photographed carrying a paper bag with his name written on it, promoting people to believe that she was returning his things. In fact, she was merely leaving their shared stylist’s office and grabbed a bag that happened to have Andrew Garfield written on it.
“See, I never talk about this stuff for this exact reason—because it’s all so speculative and baseless,” she said. “Once you start responding—once you’re like, ‘No, that’s not true’—then they’re like, ‘Well, if we push enough, we’ll get a comment, so let’s see what else we can make up.’”
“I understand the interest in it completely because I’ve had it, too,” she continued. “But it’s so special to me that it never feels good to talk about, so I just continually don’t talk about it.”
However, she admitted she could have easily flipped the bag around to hide his name. “When I picked up the bag, I was like, ‘This is kind of funny if there are any [paparazzi] out there.’ There’s probably some rebelliousness that comes out in me after all these stories and people texting you for weeks about something that, for the most part, is not true. But even when it’s false, I would rather just let it be false.”
Growing up, the star (who was born Emily Jean Stone) suffered from recurring acne, anxiety and panic attacks.
“It was really bad,” she said. “The first time I had a panic attack I was sitting in my friend’s house, and I thought the house was burning down. I called my mom and she brought me home, and for the next three years it just would not stop. I would go to the nurse at lunch most days and just wring my hands. I would ask my mom to tell me exactly how the day was going to be, then ask again 30 seconds later. I just needed to know that no one was going to die and nothing was going to change.”
Her parents took her to a therapist but what turned it around for her was acting at a local youth theater. “There’s something about the immediacy of acting. You can’t afford to think about a million other things. You have to think about the task at hand. Acting forces me to sort of be like a Zen master: What is happening right in this moment?”
After convincing her parents to let her move to Los Angeles (with a strategic PowerPoint presentation) at the age of 14, she's gone on to be the star of mega hits such The Help, The Amazing Spider-Man and Crazy Stupid Love. This year she lost out on a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Birdman. Knowing she was up against acting heavyweights such as Meryl Streep and Laura Dern, she said she didn’t even bother prepare a speech. “Are you out of your mind? Are you actually insane? Patricia Arquette had that thing locked up!”
However the Lego Oscar statuette (which she was given by the makers of The Lego Movie while sitting in the audience at the ceremony), took pride of place her nightstand until recently being moved to a drawer.
Having grown up living on the 16th hole of a golf course - “Wikipedia says my parents owned the course, but that’s not true” - Stone recently moved away from New York back to Los Angeles. She lives in a "half-furnished rental house she’s sharing with her younger brother" and pet golden retriever–Irish setter mix, Ren.
“It feels different being by the water. You’d be surprised at how much of life can be taken up by doing yoga and nothing,” she says.
With a couple of months off from work, she's using the time out to carve her next move in the acting world. “I was actually on the phone all day today, trying to put the pieces together,” she said. “When I sit in my house for too long, I think too much—but I really like sitting in my house.”
Read the full interview at wsj.com.