Jessica Simpson Just Clapped Back At Natalie Portman Over Bikini Photos

Jessica Simpson The Dukes of Hazzard

In a recent interview, Natalie Portman made comments about Jessica Simpson's media image in the late '90s/early '00s, talking about the actress was "confused" by the image of Simpson in a bikini while she claimed she was a virgin. Simpson took offense to this quote ,and wrote the following retort:

Natalie Portman, 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. As public figures, we both know how our image is not totally in our control at all times, and that the industry we work in often tries to define us or 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 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. 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.

Jessica Simpson's Instagram open letter was directed at Natalie Portman after she made what was reported to be critical comments about Simpson. The musician/actress is specifically responding to Portman's quote to USA Today during promotional rounds for her new movie, Vox Lux. Portman said:

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.

It would seem that Natalie Portman wasn't so much criticizing Jessica Simpson, as she was criticizing the confusion she felt from the media. Portman thought they were sending mixed messages at the time, based on the quote found above, and she was pointing out the contradicting double standards found in the images for late '90s/early '00s superstars. But Portman's comments offended Simpson, and the Academy Award-winning actress apologized.

In the comments for Jessica Simpson's Instagram post, Natalie Portman wrote the following apology to the pop musician.

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.

At the time of this reporting, Jessica Simpson hasn't publicly responded to Natalie Portman in response to her heartfelt, carefully worded apology. Though the musician and the actress should hopefully be on good terms now that the confusion has ultimately been cleared up between the two stars.

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Will Ashton

Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.