Though the pair haven't been seen together since Chopra attended Markle's wedding to Prince Harry last year, their friendship is clearly still intact. Chopra opens up about Markle and her treatment by the British press in a new interview with the U.K.'s Sunday Times, attributing the criticism of Markle to "racism."
"For sure, 100 percent," the Quantico star says. "Of course it has to do with racism, it's an obvious reason. But the beauty of Meg is that she's been herself through all of this."
"A lot of people got to know her after everything [once she started dating Harry], but I knew her before and she's the same chick," Chopra continues. "Now that she's got a real platform, she talks about the same things she always did. We spent hours speaking about the difference that influence and dialogue can make to the world before this whole thing happened, so what you see now is authentically her. She's always been the girl wanting to move the needle."
The 36-year-old actress, who met Markle years ago at a dinner for women in television, says it's "really unfortunate" how the Duchess of Sussex has been treated by the press. Tabloid headlines have claimed that she's at the root of the division between Harry and his brother, Prince William, and that she allegedly made William's wife, Kate Middleton, cry. Markle has also been attacked for her alleged treatment of royal staff and how she held her baby bump when pregnant with her and Harry's first child, son Archie.
"If there's anyone who can handle it, it's her," Chopra insists of her friend.
"Meghan is such a progressive, modern girl. She's what the world is today -- a self-made woman who looks like each one of us," continues Chopra, who says they first connected on "how we see the world and as girls."
"I mean, she's stunning," she laughs, "but she is so completely herself."