Megan Fox Opens Up About Her Darkest Time in Hollywood and How Motherhood Saved Her (Exclusive)
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It's been 10 years since Megan Fox and Diablo Cody worked together on the cult horror comedy Jennifer's Body, and a lot has changed for the stars over the past decade.
Recently, ET reunited Fox and Cody for the first time since working together on the project, and the pair sat down for a one-on-one conversation about the oft-maligned film, their journey through some low points in Hollywood, and how things are different a decade later.
When Jennifer's Body hit theaters on Sept. 18, 2009, it was met with a very mixed critical response and lackluster box office returns. For Cody and Fox, it felt like the film was savaged by people who had a preconceived idea based on marketing that targeted young men and played up the film's supposed sexuality.
"There was so much going on with me at that time, that movie being picked apart was not at the top of [my list of concerns]," Fox shared. "Because I had such a fraught relationship with the public, and the media, and journalists, and I was struggling so much at that time in general, this didn't stand out as a particularly painful moment, it was just part of the mix."
For Fox, being sexualized and objectified was becoming a recurring theme when it came to her career, and the marketing plan for Jennifer's Body was just another instance of the problem.
"It wasn't just that movie, it was everyday of my life, all the time, with every project I worked on and every producer I worked with," she recalled. "It preceded a breaking point for me."
"I think I had a genuine psychological breakdown where I wanted just nothing to do," she continued. "I didn't want to be seen, I didn't want to have to take a photo, do a magazine, walk a carpet, I didn't want to be seen in public at all because the fear, and the belief, and the absolute certainty that I was going to be mocked, or spat at, or someone was going to yell at me, or people would stone me or savage me for just being out… so I went through a very dark moment after that."
According to the actress, her experience speaking out against being sexualized by the industry was met with a significantly different reaction than that received by actresses sharing similar stories today.
"I feel like I was sort of out and in front of the #MeToo movement before the #MeToo movement happened, I was speaking out and saying, 'Hey, these things are happening to me and they're not OK,'" Fox explained. "And everyone was like, 'Oh well, f**k you. We don't care, you deserve it.' Because everybody talked about how you looked or how you dressed or the jokes you made."
Cody explained that she has a real fear of not being heard or taken seriously, even in the current climate in Hollywood, which is why "you haven't really heard a lot from me on that subject."
"I have a lot to say, but to be honest, I am still terrified people will say, 'Well she was a stripper, we don't really care. Does she really have a right to talk about being sexually objectified or being put through s**t in Hollywood? Because she made that choice for herself and her story is not valid,'" Cody explained. "So, I am scared."
Fox went on to explain that she doesn't feel like "there is a space in feminism" for her, despite her strongly held beliefs in equality and the ethos of feminism.
"Even though I consider myself a feminist, I feel like feminists don't want me to be a part of their group," Fox said. "What is supporting other females if there is only certain ones of us we support? If I have to be an academic or have to be non-threatening to you in some way? Why can't I be a part of the group as well?"
"Considering all of the stuff that has happened since then, and is happening on a regular basis in this country, and with celebs [stories] we have everyday, I never really did anything that crazy," she added. "But I was really dragged through the coals for a lot of it."
In Jennifer's Body, Fox played the eponymous Jennifer, who is violently sacrificed in a satanic ritual by a rock band looking to make a pact with the devil. She ends up being possessed by evil and turned into a succubus, but one of the more disturbing moments from the film is when she was sacrificed and brutally killed.
For Fox, at the time, that scene felt to her like a metaphor for her experiences in show business. "I realized in filming that scene… that was really reflective of what I felt like my relationship with the movie studios at that point. Because I felt like that's what they were willing to do. To literally leave me die," Fox recalled.
Fast forward 10 years, and things have changed a lot for Fox, mainly through her own decision to rethink her outlook -- as well as some major life changes as well.
"At that time I felt like I was suffering but now having a different outlook and having grown the way that I have grown, it made me a much better human being," Fox shared. "Sometimes we look at things because we have a specific map of how we're gonna get to this goal and what our future is supposed to look like. And when something doesn't happen we consider it a failure or we consider it that we've lost something, that we're suffering and the universe is against us. But the opposite is true -- the universe is always conspiring on our behalf to weave everything together for good, but you just have to shift your perspective."
One change that truly gave Fox a new perspective was welcoming her first child, Noah, in 2012, with husband Brian Austin Green.
"I think it took getting pregnant -- that was the first real breakthrough where my consciousness shifted and my mind opened up and I was able to see from a birds eye view and breath and take it in," Fox said. "And then another kid, and then another kid and with every kid I feel like that's always been the doorway into a better version of myself."
Fox and Green went on to welcome their son Bodhi in 2014 and son Journey in 2016, and the actress said that she feels her children are "the mirrors that show you your shadow, and you have to look at it and go, 'This is who I am and I have to acknowledge that and I have to grow and I have to change it.'"
However, while becoming a mother has helped her develop a new point of view, Fox says the industry's view of motherhood hasn't changed at all, and is still incredibly regressive and outdated.
"Being a mother is not something really respected in this industry. If anything it's considered as a handicap," Fox shared. "And that's unfortunate because it's not acknowledged, what we're juggling, what we're doing."
For Cody, who shares three children with her husband Dan Maurio, there is a widespread lack of appreciation and respect for the effort that goes into parenting, and how exhausting being a mother can be in ways many people don't realize.
"The vigilance is the most exhausting aspect of parenting," Cody shared. "It is to me, moreso than the actual physical acts of mothering. The constant vigilance, the constant awareness, the stress is so heavy."
"It's so draining" Fox agreed, "and nobody talks about that, the preoccupation of the child's safety. [Thinking], 'Just get through this day and don't choke on a piece of food please.'"
For her, the one comment she hears that infuriates her the most is when people ask why she doesn't work more these days.
"I get this all the time, people will be like, 'You just don't really work that much,'" Fox said. "And it's like, I have given birth, I have gestated and given birth to three children. I stared in a movie that opened world wide, number one -- twice! I was on a critically acclaimed sitcom. I f**king executive produced and created a show about archaeological controversies! How much more f**king productive does a f**king women need to be? F**k you!"
Tune into ET Live at 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT to watch Fox and Cody's full chat. Find the ET Live app on your smart TV or on your phone.
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