Natalie Portman has apologized after making controversial comments about an old photo of Jessica Simpson. Simpson said Portman was shaming her after Portman said in an interview with USA Today that as a teenager, she felt "confused" when she saw a photo of Simpson "on the cover of a magazine saying 'I'm a virgin' while wearing a bikini." Portman said, "Like, I don't know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl."
Portman told ET that her comments were not meant as a jab toward Simpson. She said, "I would never intend to shame anybody and that was absolutely not my intention. I was really talking about mixed media messages out there for young women and completely apologize for any hurt it may have caused because that was definitely not my intention."
"What I said was I was confused by mixed messages when I was a young girl growing up, and there are a lot of messages for how women should be, and women should be allowed to do whatever they want," she continued.
Portman also said she regrets mentioning Simpson's name.
"It is a mistake to say anyone's name," she said. "I could have made my message without naming."
On Wednesday, after Portman's USA Today interview went viral, Simpson wrote a message to the actress.
"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," Simpson wrote. "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 honor 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 having 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 whomever they want," she continued. "The power lies within us as individuals. I have made it my practice to not 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."