The success of the movie Titanic should have been one of the highlights of actress Kate Winslet’s life. Instead, it turned into a nightmare — and the Oscar-winner blames the U.K. media for turning on her the moment she became an international superstar, which resulted in her going “into self-protective mode right away.”
At the age of 22, Winslet went from a working British actress to a household name, thanks to Titanic becoming a mega-hit immediately at the box office in 1997. That’s when she noticed her press coverage shift, and the bullying began almost instantaneously. “It was like night and day from one day to the next,” she shared on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast. “Also, I was subject to quite a lot of also personal physical scrutiny, and criticized quite a lot — the British press were actually quite unkind to me.”
As a result, she says, she began to associate fame with the constant nitpicking of her body and harassment from the media. “I felt quite bullied, if I’m honest,” Winslet said. “I remember just thinking, ‘Okay, well, this is horrible and I hope it passes.’ And 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.”
Because she was thrust into the spotlight, it took time for Winslet to gain some perspective on what happened to her. She formulated a plan to stay away from making big Hollywood movies and “strategically try and find smaller things, just so I could understand the craft a bit better and understand myself a bit better, and maintain some degree of privacy and dignity,” she explained. It was her way of preserving her sanity when the British press was relentless.
For Winslet, it took about three years for the white-hot glare of the media to move on. The birth of her daughter, Mia, in 2000, also shifted her worries away from the bullying to enjoying time with her newborn. “My focus was my child, and that was all that mattered,” she said.
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