The Tragic Reason Why Natalie Portman Refused To Do Kissing Scenes

Natalie Portman has stunned us with her acting abilities since the ’90s. The starlet continues to prove how talented she is with each motion picture she makes. But for the longest time, Portman refused to take on a role that involved kissing scenes. And unfortunately, the reason behind her decision is rather tragic. Keep reading to find out why.

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman | Mike Marsland/WireImage

Natalie Portman’s acting career kicked off at a very young age

Portman was only 12-years-old while starring in the 1994 cult classic, The Professional. And while she couldn’t wait to hear the public’s reaction to her film, she was instead met with extreme discomfort. 

Natalie Portman during 1996 MTV Movie Awards at Walt Disney Studios
Natalie Portman during 1996 MTV Movie Awards at Walt Disney Studios | Ke.Mazur/WireImage

RELATED: Natalie Portman Opens up About Having Impostor Syndrome

According to Portman, people began to sexualize her despite her young age. In a speech at the LA Women’s March, Portman gave some disturbing details about her treatment as a young actor in Hollywood.

She said the local radio station began a countdown anticipating the day Portman turned 18, euphemistically the day she would be “legal to sleep with.” The actor said that she learned very quickly that if she sexually expressed herself in any form, she would feel “unsafe.”

Natalie Portman rejected any roles that involved kissing scenes

Natalie Portman during "Flirting with Disaster" Los Angeles Premiere
Natalie Portman during “Flirting with Disaster” Los Angeles Premiere | Barry King/WireImage

Portman was adamant that she maintain a “prudish” image to feel safe. Sadly, the actor had to present herself in a conservative light because Portman was afraid of the dangers that would arise if she tried anything otherwise.

She revealed during her Women’s March speech, 

“I understood very quickly, even as a 13-year-old, that if I were to express myself sexually, I would feel unsafe, and that men would feel entitled to discuss and objectify my body to my great discomfort. So I quickly adjusted my behavior.”

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman | Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Portman continued, expressing how she had to change her image in order to make sure her voice was heard. She said, 

“I rejected any role that even had a kissing scene and talked about that choice deliberately in interviews. I emphasized how bookish I was and how serious I was. And I cultivated an elegant way of dressing. I built a reputation for basically being prudish, conservative, nerdy, serious, in an attempt to feel that my body was safe and that my voice would be listened to.”

Following this statement, Portman said that she wants to live in a world where she can wear what she wants and say what she wants without fearing for the safety of her body or reputation. 

Natalie Portman famously turned down the leading role in ‘Lolita’

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman | Barry King/WireImage

Lolita tells the story of an underaged girl who faces severe trauma at the hands of her adult care-taker. It was a part that Portman was offered, yet she quickly turned it down. She felt uncomfortable taking on a sexual role at the age of thirteen. Portman said

“I wasn’t willing to do that. It wasn’t the right thing for me to do at the time. I wasn’t willing to put myself in a sexual role when I was 13 or 14, and I still wouldn’t do it now. There was nudity and sex involved, and I think that there’s enough exploitation out there. It’s not necessary to do more of that.”