Kate Winslet calls post-’Titanic’ fame ‘horrible’: ‘My life was quite unpleasant’

Kate Winslet BAFTA red carpet
Joe Maher / Stringer

Kate Winslet has been open about the body shaming she faced after her breakout role in Titanic. In a new interview, she’s explaining why she found fame “horrible,” and it’s all due to the treatment she received in the press about her appearance and career choices after starring in the blockbuster 1997 film.

Titanic hit the big screen when Winslet was just 22, and she tells PORTER magazine that the flurry of attention she received was “quite unpleasant.”

“I felt like I had to look a certain way, or be a certain thing, and because media intrusion was so significant at that time, my life was quite unpleasant,” she says. “Journalists would always say, ‘After Titanic, you could have done anything and yet you chose to do these small things’… and I was like, ‘Yeah, you bet your f—n’ life I did! Because, guess what, being famous was horrible.’ I was grateful, of course. I was in my early twenties, and I was able to get a flat. But I didn’t want to be followed literally feeding the ducks.”

At the 2016 BAFTA Awards, Winslet has stated that she faced body shaming even before landing her first big screen role, with a drama teacher telling her at age 14 that she “might do OK” if she learned to “settle for the fat girl parts.” Later, when she started booking roles, she said people would call her agent asking, “How’s her weight?” In an (extremely fatphobic) 1998 Rolling Stone interview, Winslet shared that Titanic director James Cameron called her “Kate Weighs-a-Lot.” (Are you seeing red yet, or just us?)

It’s absolutely maddening that Winslet—or any actor—should have to face such scrutiny about their appearance, but especially being so young. Navigating all of that sounds so challenging, but thankfully, it seems that the 48-year-old doesn’t take fame all that seriously these days. “Oh, it’s such a ridiculous word! I wear it really lightly. It’s not a burden, any of it. [Titanic] continues to bring people huge amounts of joy. The only time I am like, ‘Oh god, hide,’ is if we are on a boat somewhere,” she jokes.

Ultimately, of course, the joke is on every person who had such commentary about Winslet, because she’s one of the most accomplished (and gorgeous, if we’re being real) actors ever. And those people deserve nothing but a lifetime of stepping on LEGOs every single day.