The actress, 42, shared in an interview with Vulture, published Monday, that she could relate to Spears’ struggles as captured in the New York Times documentary streaming on Hulu, which has called into question the media’s treatment of the pop star and other women.
Hewitt said when she was younger, she didn’t see an issue with reporters’ questions about her body.
“At the time that I was going through it, and interviewers were asking what now would be incredibly inappropriate, gross things, it didn’t feel that way,” she said. “For some reason, in my brain, I was able to just go, ‘Okay, well, I guess they wouldn’t be asking if it was inappropriate.'”
Looking back, however, Hewitt said she now realizes that those questions were not OK.
“As a 42-year-old woman with a daughter, I definitely look back on it and go, ‘Ew,'” she said, adding that the inappropriate comments “really started” after she starred in the 1997 slasher flick “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
“At a press junket for ‘I Know’ or ‘I Still Know What You Did Last Summer,’ I remember purposely wearing a T-shirt that said ‘Silicone Free’ on it because I was so annoyed, and I knew something about boobs was gonna be the first question,” she continued. “I was really tired of that conversation.”
The scrutiny over Hewitt’s body carried over to her starring role in the 2001 rom-com “Heartbreakers,” she said.
“I was disappointed that it was all about body stuff, because I had really worked hard in that movie to do a good job as an actress,” she said. “I remember one specific moment wishing that the acting had overshadowed all that — that for five minutes, they had said I was really great in the movie versus made a body comment.”
She continued: “Now that I’m older, I think, ‘Gosh, I wish that I had known how inappropriate that was so I could have defended myself somehow or just not answered those questions.’ I laughed it off a lot of the time, and I wish maybe I hadn’t.”
Hewitt said the media’s fixation on her body lasted a “very long time” in her career and that she became used to spending significant portions of interviews fielding questions “about boobs and body stuff.”
“When I watched that Britney Spears documentary, it hurt my heart a little bit, because I remember in hindsight having that feeling,” she said. “I’m really grateful that we’re in a time where, hopefully, that narrative is going to change for young girls who are coming up now, and they won’t have to have those conversations.”
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