Matilda actress Mara Wilson slams the way Hollywood's child stars are treated in wake of Britney doc


Mrs. Doubtfire actress Mara Wilson has slammed Hollywood in the wake of the new Britney Spears documentary, describing the ‘scars’ of being a child star.  

Wilson, who also appeared in Matilda and Miracle on 34th Street as a youngster, said she was ‘sexualized’ from a young age, adding: ‘People had been asking me, “Do you have a boyfriend?” in interviews since I was 6. 

‘Reporters asked me who I thought the sexiest actor was and about Hugh Grant’s arrest for soliciting a prostitute. It was cute when 10-year-olds sent me letters saying they were in love with me. It was not when 50-year-old men did.’  

Writing in The New York Times she added: ‘The way people talked about Britney Spears was terrifying to me then, and it still is now. Her story is a striking example of a phenomenon I’ve witnessed for years: Our culture builds these girls up just to destroy them. 

‘Fortunately people are becoming aware of what we did to Ms. Spears and starting to apologize to her. But we’re still living with the scars.’ Wilson, now 33, added: ‘When you’re young and famous, there is no such thing as control.’ 

Her comments come in the wake of new documentary Framing Britney Spears which focuses on the singer’s court-sanctioned conservatorship overseen by her father, Jamie Spears. 

It also features the singer’s rise to stardom – from her early childhood to her first record deal, revealing the many ways her narrative has been manipulated by those in her life. 

Mrs. Doubtfire actress Mara Wilson has slammed Hollywood in the wake of the new Britney Spears documentary, describing the 'scars' of being a child star

Wilson, who also appeared in Matilda and Miracle on 34th Street, said she was 'sexualized' from a young age, adding: 'People had been asking me, “Do you have a boyfriend?” in interviews since I was 6'

Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda actress Mara Wilson has slammed Hollywood in the wake of the new Britney Spears documentary, describing the ‘scars’ of being a child star

Fans of Spears have demanded apologies from celebrities, including David Letterman, Diane Sawyer, Sarah Silverman, and Perez Hilton, for either making jokes about her mental health more than a decade ago or for casting her in a harsh light. 

Wilson added: ‘Many moments of Ms. Spears’s life were familiar to me. We both had dolls made of us, had close friends and boyfriends sharing our secrets and had grown men commenting on our bodies. 

‘But my life was easier not only because I was never tabloid-level famous, but because unlike Ms. Spears, I always had my family’s support.’  

Spears’ dad Jamie was granted conservatorship over his daughter in 2008 – giving him control over her financial and medical decisions – after she faced mental health struggles, which put her in hospital.

The singer has since gone to court in an attempt to dissolve her conservatorship.   

Wilson's comments come in the wake of new documentary Framing Britney Spears which focuses on the singer's court-sanctioned conservatorship overseen by her father, Jamie Spears. It also features the singer's rise to stardom - from her early childhood to her first record deal, revealing the many ways her narrative has been manipulated by those in her life

Wilson’s comments come in the wake of new documentary Framing Britney Spears which focuses on the singer’s court-sanctioned conservatorship overseen by her father, Jamie Spears. It also features the singer’s rise to stardom – from her early childhood to her first record deal, revealing the many ways her narrative has been manipulated by those in her life

Spears' dad Jamie was granted conservatorship over his daughter in 2008 - giving him control over her financial and medical decisions - after she faced mental health struggles, which put her in hospital. The singer has since gone to court in an attempt to dissolve her conservatorship

Spears’ dad Jamie was granted conservatorship over his daughter in 2008 – giving him control over her financial and medical decisions – after she faced mental health struggles, which put her in hospital. The singer has since gone to court in an attempt to dissolve her conservatorship

Wilson – who spoke out about the pressures of being a child star and receiving bad reviews at the end of last year- said: ‘By 2000, Ms. Spears had been labeled a “Bad Girl.” Bad Girls, I observed, were mostly girls who showed any sign of sexuality.’

She also recalled an interview she had to give on 13th birthday where she was labelled a ‘spoiled brat’. 

Wilson added: ‘It embraced what I now refer to as “The Narrative,” the idea that anyone who grew up in the public eye will meet some tragic end. 

‘I’d been trained to seem, to be, as normal as possible – whatever it took to avoid my inevitable downfall.’ 

Wilson details how she told the journalist interviewing her she ‘hated’ Spears when asked about the singer. 

She adds: ‘I didn’t actually hate Britney Spears. But I would never have admitted to liking her. I think mostly, I had already absorbed the version of The Narrative surrounding her.’  

Wilson said: ‘A big part of The Narrative is the assumption that famous kids deserve it. They asked for this by becoming famous and entitled, so it’s fine to attack them. In fact, The Narrative often has far less to do with the child than with the people around them.

‘MGM was giving Judy Garland pills to stay awake and lose weight when she was in her early teens. The former child actress Rebecca Schaeffer was murdered by an obsessed stalker. Drew Barrymore, who went to rehab as a young teenager, had an alcoholic father and a mother who took her to Studio 54 instead of school.’ 

After Framing Britney Spears was released on February 5, Justin Timberlake offered apologies to both Britney and Janet Jackson, whose breast he exposed during the Super Bowl halftime show in 2004.

He wrote on Instagram: ‘I have seen the messages, tags, comments, and concerns and I want to respond.

‘I am deeply sorry for the times in my life where my actions contributed to the problem, where I spoke out of turn, or did not speak up for what was right.

‘I specifically want to apologize to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson both individually, because I care for and respect these women and I know I failed.’ 

Wilson recalled an interview she had to give on 13th birthday where she was labelled a 'spoiled brat'. She is pictured alongside the case of Mrs Doubtfire in 1993

Wilson recalled an interview she had to give on 13th birthday where she was labelled a ‘spoiled brat’. She is pictured alongside the case of Mrs Doubtfire in 1993 

Wilson said 'many moments of Ms. Spears’s life were familiar to me'

Wilson said ‘many moments of Ms. Spears’s life were familiar to me’

Britney’s dad has not commented publicly on the documentary but was confirmed as his daughter’s co-conservator at the Los Angeles Superior Court last week.

In the past he has lashed out at those in the #FreeBritney movement who have criticized him for his role in the conservatorship.

Labeling #FreeBritney ‘a joke’, he said in August last year: ‘All these conspiracy theorists don’t know anything. The world don’t have a clue.

‘It’s up to the court of California to decide what’s best for my daughter. It’s no one else’s business.’ 

The documentary’s historical look at the circumstances that led to the establishment of the conservatorship in 2008 have spurred sympathy for Britney Spears and brought greater attention to the case and the so-called #FreeBritney movement of fans who want to see her released and given control of her life.

Those fans increasingly include celebrities. Many including Bette Midler tweeted the #FreeBritney hashtag after the documentary aired. Miley Cyrus shouted ‘We love Britney!’ during her pre-Super Bowl performance.

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