Natalie Portman Apologizes to Jessica Simpson for ‘Virgin’ in a Bikini Comment

“I would never intend to shame anybody and that was absolutely not my intention,” the “Vox Lux” actress says

Vox Lux
Courtesy of TIFF

Natalie Portman has apologized to Jessica Simpson after the singer called out Portman’s comments about Simpson posing in a bikini on a 1999 magazine cover that also declared that Simpson was a virgin.

“I would never intend to shame anybody and that was absolutely not my intention,” Portman told Entertainment Tonight Wednesday night. “I was really talking about mixed media messages out there for young women and completely apologize for any hurt it may have caused because that was definitely not my intention.”

Portman, who plays a fictional pop star in her new film “Vox Lux,” mentioned Simpson while praising Madonna for being a strong role model when she was growing up.

“I felt really lucky to have her as a little kid, because I saw someone who was brazen and disobedient and provocative and trying to mess with people and always changing — I thought it was a great thing to see in a woman growing up,” she told USA Today.

But she added: “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, and I was confused. Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl,” the Oscar winner said.

The comment did not go unnoticed by Simpson.

“@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 tweeted Wednesday. “As public figures, we both know our image is not totally in our control at all times, and that the industry we work in often tries to define us and box us in.”

The daughter of a minister, Simpson first rose to fame as a teen pop star before entering the reality TV world on “Newlyweds” during her marriage to 98 Degrees singer Nick Lachey. She’s since remarried and rebuilt her career around a successful fashion empire.

Portman, herself a child model and actress, elaborated on her apology.

“What I said was I was confused by mixed messages when I was a young girl growing up, and there are a lot of messages for how women should be, and women should be allowed to do whatever they want,” she said. “It is a mistake to say anyone’s name. … “I could have made my message without naming.”

“Vox Lux,” which also stars Jude Law, Stacy Martin and Christopher Abbott, opens on Dec. 7 in limited release before expands everywhere on Dec. 14.

See Simpson’s full tweet below.