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Beanie Feldstein opens up about grieving her late brother who died at 40

Jordan Feldstein, who is also the brother of actor Jonah Hill, passed away unexpectedly in 2017.
Premiere Of FX's "Impeachment: American Crime Story" - Arrivals
Beanie Feldstein attends the premiere of FX's "Impeachment: American Crime Story" on Sept. 1, 2021.Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Beanie Feldstein and her brother, Jonah Hill, lost their eldest sibling, Jordan Feldstein, in December 2017 unexpectedly after he suffered a pulmonary embolism. He was 40.

Feldstein took the opportunity to open up about the loss she suffered years prior during an interview with the Sunday Times this week. The 28-year-old got choked up during the interview when talking about her grief, explaining, “The only thing that I’d ever want in speaking about (my grief)] is that other people feel less alone.”

“I want people to know that they’re not alone in their pain because it’s something that doesn’t go away,” she continued. “It morphs but it doesn’t change, that’s the only way I can describe it.”

Feldstein did not want to dwell on her grief, concluding the topic with one last comment, “It’s such a complex feeling that to boil it down to a few sentences feels not enough.”

The “Booksmart” star also took a moment during the interview to reflect on her own struggle with body image and journey to body acceptance. She explained that she had an epiphany of sorts in her mid-teens about her weight, accepting that she looked different than other girls at auditions, but decided she wouldn’t try to change herself moving forward.

Due to this mindset shift, Feldstein adopted the mantra, “They either want the Bean or they don’t want the Bean.”

“In some ways it applies to your body, but it can apply to your personality or anything,” she elaborated.

Though the actor has found success in films like “Lady Bird” and taking on the role of Monica Lewinsky in “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” her first love is musical theater. Despite this, she recognizes that the theater can be “very narrow-minded and rooted in typecasting” when it comes to race, gender, and body diversity. Feldstein wouldn’t let herself be put in a box, explaining that she even vowed to never play the role of Tracy Turnblad in “Hairspray” after being asked about the role repeatedly.

“It was at a very young age that I started to nudge up against this idea that kept subliminally being fed to me, and put a very sour taste in my mouth,” she said. “It really made me feel like the walls were closing in and, like, this is such a narrow understanding of who I can be and what I can do. And I don’t accept that.”

Feldstein is about to make history on the Great White Way, staring as Fanny Brice in the first Broadway revival of "Funny Girl" since Barbra Streisand played the lead character back in 1964.

Todaty, Feldstein describes her relationship with her body as “very beautiful, explaining, “I have my insecure moments, but society’s notion of what a body is supposed to look like became so uninteresting to me.”

Much of Feldstein’s feelings have been shared by her older brother over the years. Hill, 37, has been candid in the past about speaking about their brother after his death in addition to being open about his struggle with body image issues and experiencing body-shaming comments in Hollywood.

Following the death of Kobe Bryant in January 2020, Hill shared a touching memory about both Bryant and his brother, posting two photos on Instagram taken courtside at a Lakers game,

“My brother and I grew up worshiping the Lakers and because of my job we got to sit next to Kobe and the whole team!” Hill wrote. “We were literally buzzing with excitement to meet our hero and it’s one of my favorite memories ever. It’s my favorite memory with my brother . I’m sitting between Kobe and my brother and now they’re both gone.”

Hill said that it was his “favorite picture,” writing in part, “I think it represents for me, all of the hard and amazing things in life and how fleeting they are.”

“But their fleeting nature doesn’t make them any less beautiful,” he continued. “I’ve been thinking a lot about saying Rest In Peace and what that means. But I don’t think Kobe or my brother are resting. I think they’re hustling up there. Working hard and getting sh-t done. Cuz that’s what they do. All my love to the ones here left behind. Take care of each other and love each other . That’s the lesson I’ve learned .”

Beanie Feldstein and Jonah Hill on May 13, 2019.WireImage

Earlier this year, Hill called out paparazzi for publishing photos of him shirtless while surfing on a beach in Malibu. He shared a screenshot of an article on Instagram, using the caption to speak out on body image to help encourage others to feel more comfortable with themselves just as they are.

“I’m 37 and finally love and accept myself,” he wrote in part. “This isn’t a ‘good for me’ post . And it’s definitely not a ‘feel bad for me post’. It’s for the the kids who don’t take their shirt off at the pool. Have fun. You’re wonderful and awesome and perfect. All my love.”

On her brother, Feldstein told the Sunday Times, “The joke is that Jonah didn’t know I was a person until I was 14. He was just so unaware of me as a kid, but since we were both full people we’ve been inseparable.”