Natalie Portman on Jessica Simpson 'feud': “there's no need for beef between women“

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Emily Reynolds
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“We’re allies” 

When news that Natalie Portman and Jessica Simpson were feuding reached us, we can’t say we weren’t surprised – it is 2018, after all. 

But, according to the internet at least, it happened. 

In an interview with USA Today, Portman said she found 1990s shoots with Simpson “confusing”. 

“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,” she said. “Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl.”

And the interview didn’t go down well with Simpson. 

“I was disappointed this morning when I read that I ‘confused’ you by wearing a bikini in a published photo taken of me when I was still a virgin in 1999,” she wrote on Twitter. “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.”

“However, I was taught to be myself and honour the different ways all women express themselves, which is why I believed then – and I believe now – that being sexy in a bikini and being proud of my body are not synonymous with sex. I have always embraced being a role model to all women to let them know that they can look however they want, wear whatever they want, and have sex or not have sex with whoever they want. The power lies within us as individuals. 

“I have made it my practice not to shame other women for their choices. 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 responded with a comment on Simpson’s Instagram. 

“Thank you for your words,” she wrote. “I completely agree with you that a woman should be allowed to dress however she likes and behave however she likes and not be judged. I only meant to say I was confused - as a girl coming of age in the public eye around the same time - by the media’s mixed messages about how girls and women were supposed to behave. I didn’t mean to shame you and I’m sorry for any hurt my words may have caused. I have nothing but respect for your talent and your voice that you use to encourage and empower women all over the globe.”

And now, the actress has addressed the issue again, appearing on Watch What Happens Live

“I have only respect and good feelings for her,” she said.

“There’s no need for beef between women. We’re all in the same society and living with the same pressures. We’re allies.”

In a world where women are pitted against each other constantly, Portman’s refusal to engage in a media narrative that favours petty beef over substance is admirable. We salute you. 

Images: Getty