The immense success of James Cameron’s 1997 film Titanic helped transform both Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet into household names. Now, Winslet has revealed her resentment over this fame and how she “felt bullied” by members of the press.
This came up when she was interviewed Thursday by Marc Maron for his hit podcast WTF With Marc Maron. Winslet said that everything changed after Titanic‘s incredible success. “It was like night and day from one day to the next. I was subject to a lot of personal physical scrutiny. I was criticized a lot and the British press were quite unkind to me.” She summed all of this up, saying, “I felt bullied if I’m honest.”
Winslet had starred in several films before Titanic, including Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures and Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility. But Titanic brought her a whole different level of public scrutiny when she was just 21 years old.
“I remember thinking, ‘this is horrible and I hope it passes’ – it did definitely pass but it made me realize that, if that’s what being famous was, I was not ready to be famous, thank you, no, definitely not.”
Part of the bullying from the press concerned Winslet’s weight. She said the press commented on her being “bigger than average” and gave her nicknames like “curvy Kate.” Meanwhile, as she told Maron, “I was like a size six or whatever, I have no idea.”
She also learned that with the press, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Understandably annoyed at comments about her weight, she pushed back and told them, “Well, this is just who I am.” When she did that, she “was labeled as being ballsy. Then I was labeled as being headstrong.”
However, Winslet noted that today’s culture is more accepting of body positivity. “I think we’re much more able to not comment quite so much, not judge. Back in those days, we were judging, judging, judging all the time.”
Perhaps in an attempt to escape the intense media scrutiny, Winslet followed up on her Titanic fame by starring in a string of indie films, including Quills and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In fact, she wasn’t back in a true blockbuster role until 2014’s Divergent.
Now, however, things have come full circle. She has reunited with James Cameron for a role in his upcoming sequel to Avatar. In the meantime, you can enjoy Winslet’s latest role in the 2020 movie Ammonite where she stars alongside Saoirse Ronan.