“It was critical and horrible and so upsetting to read,” the actress said of the tabloid media coverage about her body

By Julie Mazziotta
February 23, 2021 03:49 PM
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Kate Winslet
| Credit: J. Countess/WireImage

Kate Winslet struggled with her confidence due to the "critical and horrible" body shaming she dealt with in her twenties.

After starring roles in Hamlet and Titanic in the late 90s, Winslet endured a barrage of body shaming from the tabloid media and people like Joan Rivers, who joked that "If Kate Winslet had dropped a few pounds, the Titanic would never have sunk."

Reflecting on that time now, Winslet, 45, told The Guardian, "In my 20s, people would talk about my weight a lot. And I would be called to comment on my physical self. Well, then I got this label of being ballsy and outspoken. No, I was just defending myself."

The mom of three said she recently looked back at the articles written about her then, when she was in her late teens and early 20s. 

"It was almost laughable how shocking, how critical, how straight-up cruel tabloid journalists were to me," she said. "I was still figuring out who the hell I bloody well was! 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."

Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic
| Credit: 20th Century Fox/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Winslet said the stories hurt her self-esteem.

"It damaged my confidence," she said. "I didn't want to go to Hollywood because I remember thinking, 'God, if this is what they're saying to me in England, then what will happen when I get there?' Also, 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."

Despite the pain she felt at the time and when reading the stories again, Winslet said she was also happy to see how much has changed.

"It also made me feel so… so moved. By how different it is now."

RELATED VIDEO: Kate Winslet Regrets Working with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski: 'What the F--- Was I Doing?'

"Do you remember that period in history when suddenly female tennis players became extraordinarily vocal and much more muscular than we'd ever seen them before? Well, I suddenly feel like that's happening in the acting world," she told The Guardian. "Partly because we are emerging from this spectacular #MeToo period, but also because women are feeling an inherent sense of connection with each other. We're less afraid to say what we think now."

And in Winslet's case, she learned to stop caring about the criticism as soon as her first child, daughter Mia Threapleton, was born in 2000.

"I had Mia when I was 25. And so all that s--t just kind of…evaporated," she said, waving her hand.

Winslet has said that the experience also taught her to raise Mia with a strong sense of body positivity.

"I stand in front of the mirror and say to Mia, 'We are so lucky we have a shape. We're so lucky we're curvy. We're so lucky that we've got good bums.' And she'll say, 'Mummy, I know, thank God,' " Winslet said in 2015. "It's paying off."