Kate Winslet was just 21 when her role in “Titanic” catapulted her to international stardom, and she recently opened up about feeling “bullied” and “criticized” by the press after the movie came out.
Becoming famous “was like night and day from one day to the next,” the actor, now 45, said on a recent episode of Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast. “I was subjected to quite a lot of personal physical scrutiny, and I was criticized quite a lot. The British press were actually quite unkind to me."
“I felt quite bullied if I’m honest,” she continued. “I remember just thinking, ‘OK, well, this is horrible and I hope it passes.’ It did definitely pass but it also made me realize that, if that’s what being famous was, I was not ready to be famous, thank you. No, definitely not.”
She also said she went into “self-protective mode” after the film came out as she dealt with invasive press attention, recalling “cars and cars full of British tabloid photographers who were photographing me going and buying a pint of milk and a newspaper.”
After “Titanic” came out, Winslet said she focused on appearing in smaller indie films instead of jumping right into another mainstream blockbuster.
“I was still learning how to act. I’d only been doing it since I was 17, and so I still felt like I wasn’t really ready to do lots of big Hollywood jobs,” she said. “I didn’t want to make mistakes, I didn’t want to blow it. I wanted to be in it for the long game. So I did strategically try and find smaller things, just so I could understand the craft a bit better and also understand myself a bit better and maintain some degree of privacy and dignity.”
Winslet has opened up before about dealing with physical scrutiny as an actor, including pressure to look a certain way.
“When I was younger, when I was 14, I was told by a drama teacher that I might do OK if I was happy to settle for the fat girl parts,” Winslet said as she accepted a BAFTA award in 2016, reported The Guardian. “So what I always feel in these moments is that any young woman who has ever been put down by a teacher, by a friend, by even a parent, just don’t listen to any of it, because that’s what I did — I kept on going and I overcame my fears and got over my insecurities.”
She has also spoken about her “no-retouching” policy when it comes to her photos in ad campaigns and movie posters, and says she has always worked to instill body confidence in her 20-year-old daughter, Mia.
“I stand in front of the mirror and say to Mia, 'We are so lucky that we've got a shape. We're so lucky we're curvy. We're so lucky that we've got good bums,’” Winslet said in 2015. “And she'll say, 'Mummy, I know, thank God.' It's working, that thing that I've been doing. It's paying off."