UPDATE: This story was originally published on December 5, 2018 at 2:30 p.m.
Natalie Portman has apologized for the comments she made in an interview with USA Today that appeared to shame Jessica Simpson for wearing a bikini on a magazine cover.
"Thank you for your words," Portman wrote in an Instagram comment in response to Simpson's defense. "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. 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 you talent and your voice that you use to encourage and empower women all over the globe."
Original story follows.
“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 told the outlet. "Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl."
Simpson quickly responded to the call-out, which is a confusing dissection of female sexuality, especially coming from someone who knows what it's like to be a woman in the entertainment industry.
"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. "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. However, I was taught to be myself and honor the different ways all women express themselves, which is why I believed then — and I believe now — that being sexy in a bikini and being proud of my body are not synonymous with having sex. I have always embraced being a role model to all women to let them know that they can look however they want, wear whatever they want and have sex or not have sex with whomever they want. The power lies with us as individuals."
Simpson also referenced Time's Up, with which Portman is heavily involved, adding "I have made it my practice to not shame other women for their choices...I encourage you to do the same."
Simpson has frequently found herself having to defend her body, especially after her pregnancy.
"It wasn't really my priority to please the public and make them feel like I'm supposed to be looking like I did when I was 25," she told E! News in 2014 after the birth of her son Ace. "I don't think that I wasn't still a sex symbol [with the weight]. To my husband, I was still extremely sexy."
Refinery29 has reached out to Portman and Simpson for comment.