"If everyone's shi**ing on you, it can make you feel kind of ugh for a minute -- especially if there's really nothing wrong," she says about some of the reports criticizing her personal life. "If you're strangling a squirrel or hurting someone, I get it, but living one's life in a reasonably respectful manner shouldn't invite anyone to get too excited."
Beckinsale slams the judgment she says women face for enjoying themselves over a certain age.
"It can feel like a little bit of a political act to be a woman over 32 who's having any fun at all," she notes. "And by that, I don't mean doing drugs and drinking and partying, because I never am, but being goofy, and going out, and not going, 'Oh my god, I’m going to sit home and anticipate menopause while crocheting.' Unless you’re doing that, it somehow seems to be risqué, which is just ridiculous to me."
"And I witness men constantly doing whatever they like, whether that’s in relationships, or deciding to buy a motorbike, or getting a tattoo," she continues. "It hasn’t been interpreted as, 'Why hasn’t he had more children?' or, 'Is he ever going to decide to become a parent?' or, 'Why has he had so many girlfriends?'"
Beckinsale says she does have more freedom these days, given that her 20-year-old daughter, Lily -- whom she shares with her ex, Michael Sheen -- no longer lives with her. The British actress has no plans to live with anyone anytime soon, even if she ever decides to get married again.
"I think more people would do well married if they didn't have to live in the same house," she says. "Being married is kind of easy, but the living-with-the-person thing is a lot."
"I also think that, for women especially, and this is generalizing, but I think it's common for us to mentally subjugate our needs to whoever else is in the room," she adds. "So, if you've got a husband, a boyfriend, kids or parents, it's so easy to come in with an idea of what you'd like to do, then end up going, 'Oh, no, no, it's fine.' And it's quite nice not to always have to negotiate that."
These days, it's clear Beckinsale is looking and feeling better than ever. She reveals she works out six days a week with her trainer and aside from a healthy diet, doesn't drink any caffeine or alcohol. She also reflects on director Michael Bay famously asking her to lose weight for the 2001 film Pearl Harbor, which she starred in opposite Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett.
"It wasn't great," she acknowledges. "It didn't make me feel good and, in general, I think women are body-shamed 100 million percent more than men. But on this particular project, I wasn't. Ben, who'd already done a movie with the director, was like, 'This happened to me. They made me get new teeth.' And I was like, 'Cool, at least I get to hang on to my actual teeth.'"