With lead roles in 1996's Hamlet and the 1997 masterpiece Titanic, Kate Winslet was one of the most popular actresses of the late '90s — but the star confessed that she was often struggling with body image during that time.
"In my 20s, people would talk about my weight a lot," she noted. "It was almost laughable how shocking, how critical, how straight-up cruel tabloid journalists were to me."
"They would comment on my size, they'd estimate what I weighed, they'd print the supposed diet I was on," she recalled. "It was critical and horrible and so upsetting to read."
On some occasions, reporters would reach out to her to ask about her body, but none of her responses ever went over well. "I got this label of being ballsy and outspoken," she said. "No, I was just defending myself."
The Collateral Beauty star noted that she was "still figuring out" who she was during those years, so the criticism really "damaged" her confidence.
"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?'" she explained. "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."
The Oscar winner's perspective changed when she gave birth to her first child in 2000. "All that s**t just kind of … evaporated," she reminisced of welcoming daughter Mia at age 25.
Winslet admitted she sometimes revisits the hurtful articles that were published, but she noted that when doing so, she feels "so moved" by how much society has changed since then.
"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 shared. "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."
The Hollywood star talked to The Guardian.