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Melissa McCarthy Elle Cover Controversy: “I Wanted to Look Like the Walk of Shame”

What’s the problem? Melissa McCarthy has opened up about her Elle cover controversy once again, and frankly doesn’t understand what the big deal is! During an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Heat star revealed that she’s the one that picked out the wardrobe for the shoot — and only wishes she actually got to take home the coat too!

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“I kind of wanted to look like the walk of shame,” the 43-year-old explained on Friday, Nov. 1, as Leno replied: “To guys that’s just got out of bed look, which is very sexy.” 

“That’s what I was going for!” McCarthy exclaimed. “There was a big to-do about it, which kind of made me laugh,” she said. “Like, how dare someone put me in a $3,000 coat. That’s terrible!”

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Earlier this month, McCarthy’s Elle cover for its November Women in Hollywood issue raised eyebrows when fans thought the brunette beauty was strategically covered up in an overcoat, and her face partially concealed by her hair. Culture Editor June Thomas also shared her displeasure in an essay for Slate.

“[She] was photographed in a Marina Rinaldi coat so huge that she could hide her Mike and Molly co-star Billy Gardel underneath,” Thomas wrote at the time. “McCarthy’s hair covers a quarter of her gorgeous face, and with her hands stuffed deep into her coat pockets, the only visible flesh is a tiny triangle between the coat’s lapels and the briefest glimpse of calf.” 

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But alas, the CBS star had no issue with the end result. In fact, she chose what she would be wearing on the cover herself. “I picked out the coat. I had a great little black dress on [underneath]. We live here in L.A. and I was like, ‘I can’t wait for fall I’m so sick of the hot weather.’ So I was like, ‘Is that cashmere?’ So I ran upstairs and then jacket-gate started!” she laughed.

Melissa McCarthy on Leno
Melissa McCarthy talks about her Elle magazine controversy on Leno.

Indeed, the term “jacket-gate” began when former Saturday Night Live funnyman Andy Samberg commented on the cover outrage during the Elle Magazine Women in Hollywood party on Oct. 21 — with McCarthy in attendance.

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“Speaking of controversy, a lot of controversy for the Elle Women in Hollywood issue this year. I’m referring, of course, to Jacket-gate,” Samberg, 35, said during the event. “Talk about a kerfuffle! Have you no shame, Elle magazine and your parent company Hearst Communications? How dare you make a beautiful woman wear a trench coat? An item of clothing never associated with sex and desire, and splattered across your cover like the scat of a monkey armada.”

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