Goldie Hawn talks about the backlash she faced after she took her career into her own hands
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A force in Hollywood for more than four decades, Goldie Hawn says she battled sexism in Hollywood even at the height of her success.

The Oscar winner, 70, talks to PEOPLE in this week’s issue about her foundation, her family life and her rise to fame.

For much more from Hawn, pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands now.

After a string of ’70s hits, Hawn couldn’t find a role she liked, and decided to help create one – producing and starring in the box-office smash Private Benjamin “A woman opening a movie with no other star is like a miracle,” says Hawn.

But she says she was then labeled as “controlling” simply because she was a woman.

“I faced a big problem, and that was that I was looked on as someone who did things her own way. When it comes to a success, it becomes a threat. Directors didn’t want to work with me because I was ‘too controlling.’ If it had been a man, it wouldn’t have meant a damn thing.”

Through her Hawn Foundation, the star has developed the MindUP program, which helps children develop and regulate their emotions to reduce stress and become more self-aware.

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Hawn says she’s always felt a sense of happiness – and of freedom. When she landed her first big role on the comedy series Laugh-In, she says, “women were burning their bras. A reporter said, ‘Don’t you feel bad about what your are doing, being the dumb blonde, while women are out there fighting for their liberation?’ I was about 23, and I looked at her and said, ‘But I am already liberated.’ ”

Reporting by LIZ McNEIL