Portman is set to star in “Lox Vux,” a film about a troubled international pop star. In an interview with USA Today, Portman discussed her inspirations for the role and mentioned a ’90s photoshoot of Simpson’s that “confused” her.
“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,” Portman told USA Today. “Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl.”
Simpson responded a day later, expressing her feelings to Portman in a post she shared on Instagram and Twitter. “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,” she wrote.
Simpson has always been vocal about her sexuality and even announced to the world that she lost her virginity to her then-husband, Nick Lachey, on their wedding night.
“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,” Simpson continued in the post. “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.”
Fans on Twitter reacted quickly to Simpson’s rare tweet. Some reminisced on the early 2000s, when both Simpson and Portman regularly made pop culture headlines.
Avril Lavigne has a new single. Jessica Simpson clapped back against Natalie Portman. Big day for people gay millennials pretended to "have a crush on" in 2002.— Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) December 5, 2018
So, Jessica Simpson is trending because she's in a beef with Natalie Portman. pic.twitter.com/BwpJqQwnm8— Theo Clardy (RIP Kobe Bean Bryant 1978-2020) (@Theo_C) December 5, 2018
Portman then apologized for her comments about Simpson, writing in an Instagram comment that she was confused by “the media’s mixed messages about how girls and women were supposed to behave.”
Natalie Portman's reps just sent me this screenshot of the actor responding to Jessica Simpson's Instagram post.— michael blackmon (@blackmon) December 5, 2018
"I didn't mean to shame you and I'm sorry for any hurt my words may have caused," Portman said. pic.twitter.com/HfOX4lwWAh
Supporters have also defended Portman online, claiming that the comments were obviously misunderstood.
She isn't attacking Jessica Simpson personally. It's a comment about the music industry of the 2000's trying to sell virginity and sexy at the same time. How she feels she maybe needed to be seen as both as well.— (눈‸눈) (@SojuUnnie) December 5, 2018
Quote taken out of context and
Simpson feels attacked. sigh. pic.twitter.com/iMjcMhVXsP
H/T USA Today