Busy Philipps Felt Bad About Outing Noah Centineo for Ghosting

In a wide-ranging conversation, the 'Busy Tonight' host also discussed her hatred of clickbait, her love of celebrity gossip and how her brutally honest memoir caused tension in her family.
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for New York Magazine

Busy Philipps hasn't shied away from discussing celebrity gossip on her new late-night talk show, E!'s Busy Tonight, but the actress made headlines for her appearance on James Corden's Late Late Show alongside Netflix heartthrob Noah Centineo. Philipps called out the 22-year-old actor for ghosting one of her writers on a dating app.

In a panel at Vulture Fest in Los Angeles, she said she feels a little bad about airing the dirty laundry on national television.

"It was very unplanned that I brought that up on Corden and I did feel bad because he is a child, but a child was fully hitting up my 40-year-old friend," she said on the panel. "On the show he was like, 'Oh yeah, you're right, I did that.' He was very sweet about it, I just felt like it was very shitty of me." But despite that incident, Philipps doesn't plan to stop talking about gossip — there are just certain topics she'll stay away from.

"I feel like you can talk about these stories and these things that people are interested in in ways that don't objectify the women involved," she said. "We're not talking about their looks or their clothing choices or their bodies, but we could talk about questionable engagement choices.... And then I think when people fuck up it's OK to call them out on that."

She continued, "Barring some huge fucking craziness, I probably won't talk about people's divorces or people's kids. I would be interested if somebody said something about their parenting. If somebody did an interview about that subject, I might talk about it. It just depends."

Part of that mind-set seems to stem from the fact that Philipps is willing to share plenty about her own life on social media — like the conversational Instagram stories she's become known for.

"I don't delete things," she said of her use of the platform. "I sort of feel like it's a little bit intuitive for me in terms of what lines I'm willing to cross, and I feel like it's hard for some people to know those lines for themselves."

She also shared plenty of intimate family details in her book, This Will Only Hurt a Little. It caused tension in her family, though the conflict seems to have passed.

"My book was really hard on my family, and maybe continues to be," Philipps revealed. "I don't know, we stopped talking about it. Ultimately my mom is really proud of it and I think she sees the value in it now that it's come out, I think."

In the book, now a New York Times best-seller, the actress opens up about being sexually assaulted as a teen, getting an abortion and her more recent marital struggles. She said she always planned on including the assault and all the other tough-to-talk about details in the book.

"I probably wouldn't be here without all of that shit. I always knew that I wanted to talk about the abortion for a lot of reasons — current political climate and the interesting way people talk about abortion," she said, adding, "I think it's important that we continue to talk about it because we live in this time now where many women don't know what it's like to live before Roe v. Wade.... I think the further we get from that time the more we see it in a black and white way and it's a very gray area. I also wanted to talk about the rape and sexual assault because I just felt like I was fucking done holding on to it after almost 25 years."

In being so vulnerable, she also knew that her extremely personal experiences could be presented in disingenuous ways.

"I was aware that these things could be reduced to clickbait headlines, and that bummed me out. It bummed me the fuck out. It's so stupid," she said, railing against a story about a Trump supporter who was kicked out of Disneyland. In reality, the man wasn't kicked out for his political views, he was kicked out for breaking so many of the park's rules. "It's just to stir the pot and get you to click on it. I clicked on it!"

Another intimate story was the little-known fact that she co-wrote the movie Blades of Glory with her friend from high school — and then her contribution was erased when the movie was sold. The movie's co-writers have since apologized, but the experience was traumatic.

"The importance of the story was to me, historically this is a thing that happens," she explained. "Women's ideas and creativity get taken by men who are near them and used for their personal gain. I was gaslit and made to feel crazy, and I was really traumatized by it. I didn't trust myself or my instincts or my own abilities."

The rest of the wide-ranging conversation included discussion about what makes her cry (everything, pretty much, especially after Donald Trump's election, she said), the feminist impulse that led her to create her own late-night talk show ("I had a thing about not doing a morning or a daytime show. I just felt like it's fuckin' bullshit that all these dudes have this") and bonding with her castmates on everything from Freaks and Geeks (Linda Cardellini) and Dawson's Creek (best friend Michelle Williams) to the movie Maid of Honor (Whitney Cummings).

Working on a set with someone for 15 hours a day can create intense friendship bonds, but often they don't withstand the years. Philipps, however, has maintained several of those friendships.

"My relationship with Linda has withstood, and Whitney, too, I think it's just a question of time put in and what the other person is willing to give back," she revealed. "But I also think Michelle and I, she said it first, we're soulmates. We just had a very intense bond [at the time], and it's everything after that, too."