Natalie Portman Says Children Shouldn’t Be Actors: ‘Kids Should Play And Go To School’

Natalie Portman
Emma McIntyre/WireImage via Getty Images

Former child star Natalie Portman said she doesn’t think children should work in Hollywood, citing potential dangers as one reason why.

“I would not encourage young people to go into this. I don’t mean ever; I mean as children,” Portman told Variety during a recent interview.

“I feel it was almost an accident of luck that I was not harmed, also combined with very overprotective, wonderful parents,” the 42-year-old Academy Award winner continued. “You don’t like it when you’re a kid, and you’re grateful for it when you’re an adult. I’ve heard too many bad stories to think that any children should be part of it.”

The mother of two said it comes down to the fact that kids should spend their childhood doing regular kid things. “Ultimately, I don’t believe that kids should work,” Portman added. “I think kids should play and go to school.”

The actress launched her acting career at the age of 12 when she starred in the action film “Léon: The Professional” (1994). Portman reached superstar status for her portrayal of Padmé Amidala in “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” (1999).

Portman won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2010 for her work in the psychological thriller “Black Swan.”

The Israeli-born star previously described being “sexualized” in Hollywood from a young age.

She told Dax Shepard during a 2020 episode of “Armchair Expert” that being on the set of “Leon” at 12 “didn’t allow the full expression of who I was at that time.” 


“Being sexualized as a child took away from my own sexuality because it made me afraid,” Portman said at the time.

The “Thor” actress said some people “had this impression of me that I was super-serious and prude and conservative as I got older.”

“I consciously cultivated that because it was a way to make me feel safe. If someone respects you, they’re not going to objectify you,” Portman said. “At that age you do have your own sexuality, and you do have your own desire and you do want to explore things … but you don’t feel safe necessarily. You build these fortresses.”

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