Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can break your heart. Kim Novak learned that the hard way when she presented at the Oscars back in early March — and promptly set Twitter abuzz with mean comments and jokes about her face.
"It really did throw me into a tailspin and it hit me hard," the 81-year-old actress told the Associated Press in an interview on Thursday, April 17. "For days, I didn't leave the house, and it got to me like it gets to kids and teenagers [who are attacked]."
The star of such classic films as Vertigo and Bell Book and Candle also released an open letter in which she slammed remarks made by Donald Trump and others. (Trump tweeted during the awards show that Novak should "sue her plastic surgeon.")
"I'm not going to deny that I had fat injections in my face," Novak wrote in the letter, per the AP. "They seemed far less invasive than a face lift. In my opinion, a person has a right to look as good as they can, and I feel better when I look better."
She went on to talk about her earlier years in Hollywood, when she suffered from untreated bipolar disorder and faced harsh reviews of her work. She thought after her warm visit to Cannes, France, last year — when she was the guest of honor at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival screening of Vertigo — that she might be received differently now, which is why the Oscar night backlash stung so badly. "I was just not prepared for such a negative reaction and it just caught me off guard," she told the AP.
Novak initially wanted to keep quiet about the experience but decided to speak out after she agreed to appear at the TCM Film Festival in Hollywood earlier this month. "I realized that I had to stand up not only for myself but for other people that don't have the courage to do so," she told the AP. "I feel like I have a mission."
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