Natalie Portman clarifies comments about Jessica Simpson and apologizes

PHOTO: Natalie Portman speaks on Nov. 9, 2018, in Hollywood, Calif.| Jessica Simpson attends an event on July 14, 2018 in Los Angeles.PlayGetty Images
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Natalie Portman apologized to Jessica Simpson for inadvertently offending her with comments she made about the singer's persona in 1999.

In a recent interview with USA Today, Portman, who plays a pop star in the new film "Vox Lux," reflected on the industry at the turn of the century, and noted that Simpson, who was a virgin at the time, was photographed for a magazine wearing a bikini.

Portman told the newspaper that at the time, she did not understand that dichotomy, which prompted Simpson to release a statement on Instagram scolding the Oscar winner for being judgmental.

"Being sexy in a bikini and being proud of my body are not synonymous with having sex," Simpson wrote.

Portman later apologized.

"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," Portman commented on the post. "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."

In her statement, Simpson, 38, told Portman, 37, that as a public figure, her image was not always in her control, but even still, she's always tried to be authentic with her fans. Being a role model, she added, is a responsibility she takes seriously.

"[Women] 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," Simpson wrote. "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."

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