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When Natalie Portman invested in Los Angeles' new professional women's soccer team earlier this year, she did so with her son in mind.
The mother of two had recently noticed that her son, Aleph Portman-Millepied, 9, was developing a love for the sport and regularly heard him talk about both female and male athletes.
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"When I saw my son look up to the female soccer players as much as the male ones — he was talking about Megan Rapinoe in the same breath as he was talking about Lionel Messi — I was like, 'That is culture change,'" she told Dylan Dreyer and Sheinelle Jones on Wednesday during the 3rd hour of TODAY.
Portman went on to partner with Serena Williams, Uzo Aduba, Jennifer Garner and other celebrities to invest in Los Angeles' new professional women's soccer team. The news made headlines back in July, and the group plans to launch the team, aptly named Angel City, in spring 2022. And Aleph can hardly wait!
"My son, my 9-year-old (thinks) the coolest thing I've ever done is the soccer team," she said. "He is so excited about (it), and he was really the inspiration for me behind it."
Portman also discussed her new children’s book, “Natalie Portman’s Fables,” which re-imagines classic children’s stories with modern characters and storylines. The "Thor" star told the TODAY co-hosts reading books to her two children really sparked the idea for this new project.
"I feel so grateful to have a son and a daughter and to experience the ways that people give books," she explained. "The kinds of books that they give to each of the kids was really eye-opening to me because my son just got kind of like the classic book as gifts, and my daughter kept getting these feminist baby books."
Portman wanted both of her children to be exposed to the idea that women are strong, and she wanted them to have a book that told feminist stories in an age-appropriate way.
"I also thought OK, boys need this message as much as, if not more than, the girls, and also maybe it's a little early to introduce to either of them that girls have obstacles cuz its not in their heads as kids," she said. "So I wanted to retell 'The City Mouse and the Country Mouse,' 'The Three Little Pigs' and 'The Tortoise and the Hare' with the same values in tact that seemed like great things that I still wanted to pass on to my kids but with characters that reflected what the world is really like."
Portman's kids, especially her 3 1/2-year-old daughter, Amalia, are loving her new book so far.
"She's prime age for the book so that's been super fun to get to read with her, and she really loves choosing which story," she said. "So the table of contents is usually not necessary for a three-story book, but I really wanted it there because she likes to direct the order."