Natalie Portman Apologizes to Jessica Simpson for ‘Virgin in a Bikini’ Slam

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Actress Natalie Portman apologized after she criticized a bikini photo of pop star Jessica Simpson on a 1999 magazine cover that also claimed Simpson was a virgin.

Trying to knock down the assumption that Portman was criticizing a teenaged Simpson, the Black Swan actress tried to explain what she meant with her comments published by USA Today last week.

“I would never intend to shame anybody and that was absolutely not my intention,” Portman told Entertainment Tonight, according to The Wrap. “I was really talking about mixed media messages out there for young women and completely apologize for any hurt it may have caused because that was definitely not my intention.”

“What I said was I was confused by mixed messages when I was a young girl growing up, and there are a lot of messages for how women should be, and women should be allowed to do whatever they want,” she added. “It is a mistake to say anyone’s name. … I could have made my message without naming.”

Last week, Portman criticized the 1999 magazine cover with Simpson on it because she felt it sent girls a mixed message.

“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 pontificated to USA Today. “Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl.”

But Simpson also found herself a bit confused. The one-time pop star wondered why Portman was reaching back almost 20 years to criticize her.

“@Natalieportman 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,” Simpson wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “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.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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