Kate Winslet's first time in the spotlight wasn't all it was cracked up to be. The 45-year-old actress appeared on the latest episode of WTF With Marc Maron, and recalled why she recoiled from fame after the release of Titanic, her breakout film, in 1997.
"I think I went into self-protective mode right away," Winslet said of life after Titanic, which she starred in alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. "... It was cars and cars of British photographers who were photographing me going and buying a pint of milk and a newspaper. That was just weird. It was like night and day from one day to the next."
In addition to the oddness of having photographers watch her do everyday tasks, Winslet said she was "subject to quite a lot of personal physical scrutiny, and criticized quite a lot."
"The British press were actually quite unkind to me. I felt quite bullied, if I'm honest," she admitted. "I remember just thinking, 'OK, 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."
Winslet noted that she felt unprepared for the fame, largely because she had only been acting for a few years when Titanic was released.
"I was still learning how to act. I'd only been doing it since I was 17," she said. "And so I still felt like I wasn't really ready to do lots of big Hollywood jobs. It was a huge responsibility. I didn't want to make mistakes. I didn't want to blow it. I wanted to be in it for the long game."
In response to the scrutiny, Winslet noted that she "did strategically try and find smaller things" so that she could "understand the craft a bit better and also understand myself a bit better, and maintain some degree of privacy and dignity."
Her concern over the press, though, largely disappeared when she had her first child, Mia, who's now 20. Winslet is also mom to Joe, 17, and Bear, 7.
"I had my daughter when I was 25 and all of that stuff kind of evaporated a bit, in terms of feeling watched and whether I cared about it," she said. "That all just kind of went away. My focus was my child and that was all that mattered."