Kate Winslet opened up about her post-Titanic fame’s impact on her real life.
“I felt like I had to look a certain way, or be a certain thing,” Winslet, 48, told Porter in an interview published Monday, February 12. “And because media intrusion was so significant at that time, my life was quite unpleasant.”
James Cameron’s iconic historical romance premiered in theaters in 1997. It starred Winslet as Rose DeWitt opposite Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson. Titanic sailed to the top of the box office in its opening weekend, where it remained for 15 weeks, becoming at one point the highest-grossing film of all time. At the time of Titanic’s release and major box office success, Winslet was 22.
“Journalists would always say, ‘After Titanic, you could have done anything and yet you chose to do these small things’… and I was like, ‘Yeah, you bet your f—in’ life I did! Because, guess what, being famous was horrible,’” she said. “I was grateful, of course. I was in my early 20s, and I was able to get a flat. But I didn’t want to be followed literally feeding the ducks.”
After Titanic, Winslet went on to star in a slew of films on a comparatively smaller scale, like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Finding Neverland, The Holiday and The Reader, among many others. Most recently, she reunited with Cameron in 2022 for his blockbuster sci-fi sequel Avatar: The Way of Water, in which she played Ronal.
How does Winslet feel about fame now, after a decades-long career that has earned her an Oscar, two Emmys and five Golden Globes? According to the Mare of Easttown actor, “fame” is a “ridiculous word,” and one she wears “really lightly.” According to Winslet, “It’s not a burden, any of it. [Titanic] continues to bring people huge amounts of joy.”
She joked, “The only time I am like, ‘Oh god, hide’, is if we are on a boat somewhere.”
This is not the first time Winslet criticized her treatment by the mainstream media after Titanic, particularly when it came to her body image. “I was consistently told I was the wrong shape,” Winslet said in an October 2023 interview with Vogue. “I was consistently told I would have to settle for less.”
She added: “I think it probably stems from having been subjected to the most awful scrutiny and judgment, and actually, I would go so far as to say bullying, from mainstream media when I was in my 20s.” Winslet noted that thanks to the #MeToo movement, the culture of the industry has begun to change for the better and that “young actresses now” are “unafraid.”
“It makes me so proud,” she said. “It was all bloody worth it. Because the culture is changing in the way that I couldn’t in my wildest dreams have imagined in my 20s.”