Natalie Portman Apologizes After Jessica Simpson Calls Her Out for 'Shaming' Her Over Bikini Photo (Exclusive)

Natalie Portman is clarifying her recent comments about Jessica Simpson that caused the fashion mogul to clap back on social media. 

Natalie Portman is clarifying her recent comments about Jessica Simpson that caused the fashion mogul to clap back on social media. 

ET's Nischelle Turner spoke to Portman on Wednesday about her new film, Vox Lux -- in which she plays a pop star -- when she explained her much-talked-about quote about Simpson in an interview with USA Today. Portman told the outlet she was "confused" as a teenager at the image of Simpson on the cover of a magazine saying "I'm a virgin" while clad in a bikini. Simpson later tweeted that she was "disappointed" in Portman's comments, and accused the Oscar-winning actress of shaming other women for their choices.

Portman tells ET her comments were more about mixed messages from the media than about shaming anyone.

"I would never intend to shame anybody and that was absolutely not my intention," Portman says. "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."

"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 continues.

But she also acknowledges that she shouldn't have called out anyone specific.

"It is a mistake to say anyone's name," she says. "I could have made my message without naming."

Portman's comment to USA Today reads, “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.”

On Wednesday, Simpson wrote a lengthy response to Portman on Twitter, and pointed out that she isn't always in control of her image. 

“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 wrote. “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. However, I was taught to be myself and honor the different ways all women express themselves, which is why I believed then – and I believe now – that being sexy in a bikini and being proud of my body are not synonymous with having sex.”

“I have always embraced being a role model to all women to let them know that they can look however they want, wear whatever they want and have sex or not have sex with whomever they want,” she continued. “The power lies within us as individuals. I have made it my practice to not shame other women for their choices. In this era of Time’s Up and all the great work you have done for women, I encourage you to do the same.”

Portman later left a comment on Simpson's Instagram post and once again explained her initial quote.

"Thank you for your words," she replied. "I completely agree with you that a woman should be allowed to dress however she likes and behave however she likes and not be judged. I only meant to say I was confused -- as a girl coming of age in the public eye around the same time -- by the media's mixed messages about how girls and women were supposed to behave. I didn't mean to shame you and I'm sorry for any hurt my words may have caused. I have nothing but respect for your talent and your voice that you use to encourage and empower women all over the globe."


In Vox Lux, Portman plays a singer named Celeste, who rises to pop superstardom. It hits theaters on Dec. 7. 

Meanwhile, Portman also spoke to ET in February about her now well-known rapping skills. Watch the video below for more: