Natalie Portman Opens Up About Being Sexualized As A Child: 'It Made Me Afraid'

Natalie Portman is getting candid.

Like many former child stars, she experienced her fair share of uncomfortable experiences while finding her footing in Hollywood.

This sadly includes being sexualized from a young age. She recently opened up about the difficult subject on Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast.

Keep reading to see what she had to say.

Natalie Portman has been a talented force in Hollywood since she was just 12.

She made her acting debut in Léon: The Professional in 1994, where she played a 12-year-old orphan who forms a relationship with a hitman.

From there, she had roles in Heat, Beautiful Girls, and Mars Attacks!.

But being a child actress came with some serious drawbacks — namely being sexualized at a young age.

The actress recently got candid about this sensitive subject during a recent episode of Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert podcast.

She began by saying she was expected to play a "Lolita figure" in the 1996 film, Beautiful Girls.

This meant that her character, a teenage girl, began a relationship with an older man, Willie Conway, played by Timothy Hutton.

It was based on the 1955 novel, Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov, with the same plot: a teenage girl engaging in a relationship with a much older character.

"I was definitely aware of the fact that like, I was being portrayed — like mainly in the kind of journalism around when the movies would come out — as this Lolita figure and stuff," Portman told Shepard.

This had devastating and long-lasting effects on the star's mental health.

"Being sexualised as a child, I think, took away from my own sexuality because it made me afraid," she admitted.

She said that this changed how she acted, as the way she could feel safe was to be like, "'I'm conservative' and 'I'm serious and you should respect me,' and 'I'm smart,' and 'Don't look at me that way,' she added.

Portman continued: "At that age, you do have your own sexuality, and you do have your own desire, and you do want to explore things, and you do want to be open."

[Instagram | @natalieportman](

She confessed that safety became an issue for her, as she became fearful over older men lusting after her.

She opened up a bit about this at a Women’s March rally in 2018.

During her speech to the crowd, she said that her first fan mail experience was an uncomfortable one.

“I excitedly opened my first fan mail to read a rape fantasy that a man had written me." She said that a countdown had also been started on her local radio station for her 18th birthday, which would mark the date she was legal to sleep with.

As a young child actress, she also dealt with movie reviewers making mention of her "budding breasts" in reviews.

Due to all these uncomfortable experiences, the actress told Shepard that she created emotional walls to protect herself.

"So many people had this impression of me that I was super serious and conservative."

"And I realized I consciously cultivated that because it was always to make me feel safe," she admitted.

"Like, "Oh, if someone respects you, they’re not gonna objectify you".'

This soon affected her career, as she purposely chose roles that didn't have any love or kissing scenes.

"I would start choosing parts that were less sexy, because it made me worried about the way I was perceived and how safe I felt."

Even with all these roadblocks, the star has been able to build an amazing career for herself.

The actress has starred in several notable films, including the Star Wars and Thor franchise. She even won the Best Actress Oscar for Black Swan.

The Harvard alum has also become a strong advocate for women. She has always been outspoken about gender equality and her involvement as a supporter of the Time’s Up movement.

Now, as a mother of two, it's uncertain whether her kids will get into showbiz. But if they do, we know that Natalie will do everything she can to protect them.

For more on Natalie Portman's interview with Dax Shepard, click here.