While Hollywood often tries to present itself as a glamorous and glitzy fantasyland, some actors know better than to believe the lie. With fame comes attention, and often it’s of the unwanted variety. Journalists and fans alike can wear you down, make you doubt your chosen path, and find you recoiling at the mention of life-altering projects. Kate Winslet, the star of James Cameron‘s Titanic, is ready to open up about life after the box office-breaking drama and how life became “unpleasant” after her meteoric rise to fame.
“I felt like I had to look a certain way, or be a certain thing, and because media intrusion was so significant at that time, my life was quite unpleasant,” Winslet said while speaking with PORTER.
During the interview, Winslet recalls how journalists challenged her career choices after Titanic, expressing confusion about her accepting minor roles instead of riding the Titanic wave to the top of Hollywood’s A list. With fire in her throat, Winslet says, “Yeah, you bet your fuckin’ life I did! Because, guess what, being famous was horrible.“
While she’s “grateful” for the role, Winslet says the routine of dodging paparazzi, squashing rumors, and getting harassed by fans was a joyless byproduct of her fame. She was in her 20s and “didn’t want to be followed literally feeding the ducks.”
In an episode of the Happy, Sad, Confused podcast, Winslet spoke about the emotional abuse that followed Titanic’s release. Strangers ridiculed her weight, saying it was why Jack couldn’t join her atop the door after the boat sank. As ridiculous as that sounds, other comments were way worse.
“They were so mean. I wasn’t even fucking fat,” Winslet said. “If I could turn back the clock, I would have used my voice in a completely different way. … I would have said to journalists, I would have responded, I would have said, ‘Don’t you dare treat me like this. I’m a young woman, my body is changing, I’m figuring it out, I’m deeply insecure, I’m terrified, don’t make this any harder than it already is.’ That’s bullying, you know, and actually borderline abusive, I would say.”
So, while Hollywood wants us to believe there’s magic happening on every set, remember that actors are people with actual feelings and vulnerabilities. Also, Kate Winslet can hold the record for holding her breath underwater for more than seven minutes. That’s boss-level behavior, folks. She could probably mess you up. Tread carefully.