'The Crown' Star Claire Foy Calls Pay Disparity with Matt Smith a 'Big, Fat, Dirty Secret'

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Claire Foy
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Claire Foy is once again addressing the troubling revelation of the pay disparity between her and co-star, Matt Smith, on Netflix’s The Crown, admitting that the news wounded her.

“I was deeply hurt by it, because I’d been working on that show for two years,” she told PorterEdit for their latest issue. “I loved everybody on it. And then I realized, there’s been a big, fat, dirty secret that nobody’s ever talked about. But then there was also that thing [of being] an inadvertent spokesperson.” 

“Why did it have to be me? I could have said nothing,” she added. “And I think everyone would have preferred that. But I thought, if I do that, I will be cheating myself and all the other women I know.”

After news of the disparity surfaced, Foy was reportedly given roughly $275,000 in back pay to settle the situation. This isn't the first time she's addressed the controversy, however, she previously used far more subdued language.

"I’m surprised because I’m at the center of it, and anything that I’m at the center of like that is very very odd, and feels very very out of ordinary,” she told Entertainment Weekly in March. “But I’m not [surprised about the interest in the story] in the sense that it was a female-led drama. I’m not surprised that people saw [the story] and went, ‘Oh, that’s a bit odd’… But I know that Matt feels the same that I do, that it’s odd to find yourself at the center [of a story] that you didn’t particularly ask for."

In the lauded show, Foy played Queen Elizabeth II in the first two seasons while Smith played her husband Prince Philip.

Smith also briefly discussed the pay issue during a visit to The Late Late Show with James Corden in August when talking about fellow actor Tobias Menzies, who is taking over the role of Prince Philip in season three.

“Don’t do it,” was the 35-year-old actor jokingly said he told Menzies when chatting about the role. “I said a few things to him. I told him a good book to read by Philip Eade called Young Prince Philip, which is very good. You know how it’s like, you can’t offer up too much. But I just said, ‘God, make sure they pay you enough and make sure it’s even.'”

During the new interview, Foy also mentioned an emotional breakdown she suffered in her early 20s after her big break.

“When I was 23, I had a breakdown. I didn’t sleep or eat for a month,” she revealed. “It was awful. My life had changed. I felt overwhelmed. I was on stage at the time and working, and I’d just got a really big job [the lead in the BBC’s Little Dorrit]. I just couldn’t cope.”

She also candidly admitted that she has embraced her chaotic, on-the-go lifestyle.

“A long time ago, I gave up on the idea of happiness,” she said. “I think you can be incredibly, deliriously happy one minute, and be miserable the next. […] I’ve realized that my life is quite dramatic, and that’s OK. I’m really happy, but… I’m not sorted, at all. I don’t expect any moment to last.”

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