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Jessica Simpson on Wednesday responded to Natalie Portman’s unfavorable comments about the former pop star posing in a bikini during her rise to fame.
“@Natalieportman — I was disappointed this morning when I read that I ‘confused’ you by wearing a bikini in a published photo taken of me when I was still a virgin in 1999,” Simpson began in a post shared on Twitter and Instagram. “As public figures, we both know our image is not totally in control at all times, and that the industry we work in often tries to define us and box us in.”
The “Irresistible” singer continued, “However, I was taught to be myself and honor the different ways all women express themselves, which is why I believed then — and believe now — that being sexy in a bikini and being proud of my body are not synonymous with having sex.”
Simpson went on to say that she has “always embraced being a role model to all women to let them know that they can look however they want, wear whatever they want and have sex or not have sex with whomever they want.” She added, “The power lies within us as individuals.”
Simpson then told Portman that she has “made it my practice to not shame other women for their choices.” The Jessica Simpson Collection founder also called out Portman’s comments and how they don’t seem to align with the Oscar-winning actress’ vocal support of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements.
Simpson concluded, “In this era of Time’s Up and all the great work you have done for women, I encourage you to do the same.”
Simpson was referring to remarks made in Portman’s Tuesday interview with USA Today. While promoting her new music drama Vox Lux, Portman — who plays a Madonna-inspired pop star in the film — shared her thoughts on the virgin/vixen paradigm that was archetypal of young female artists at the turn of the new millennium.
“I remember being a teenager, and there was Jessica Simpson on the cover of a magazine saying, ‘I’m a virgin’ while wearing a bikini,” she said of the singer, who famously made a pact with her preacher dad, Joe Simpson, to save herself for marriage with now-ex-husband Nick Lachey.
Portman added, “And I was confused. Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl.”
Portman later responded to Simpson in an Instagram comment. “@jessicasimpson Thank you for your words. I completely agree with you that a woman should be allowed to dress however she likes and not be judged,” she wrote. “I only meant to say I was confused — as a girl coming of age in the public eye around the same time — by the media’s mixed messages about how girls and women were supposed to behave.”
Added Portman: “I didn’t mean to shame you and I’m sorry for any hurt my words may have caused. I have nothing but respect for your talent and your voice that you use to encourage and empower women all over the globe.”
See Jessica Simpson’s post below.
— Jessica Simpson (@JessicaSimpson) December 5, 2018
Dec. 5, 12:32 p.m. Updated with Portman’s Instagram response.
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