Jennifer Lawrence has been famous for about eleven years now, super famous for ten, which is when The Hunger Games came out in 2012 and made her a mega-star. We’re six months away from the ten year anniversary of her winning the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook. Does it feel like it’s been that long?
A lot has happened in that time. A few years ago Jennifer took a break from the spotlight, and stayed on that break to get married. She sort of stepped back into heat last year to promote Don’t Look Up but things still weren’t entirely back to normal at that time because of the pandemic, and she was pregnant, so her re-entry onto the scene right now feels more business as usual. JLaw will be in Toronto for the TIFF world premiere of Causeway, the first film she’s produced through her production company, Excellent Cadaver. Causeway was acquired by Apple and will start streaming in November and it’s possible, given that timing, that they might have some awards ambitions.
So Jennifer covers the October issue of Vogue, and while most of the headlines are about her confirming that she had a boy and revealing his name, that’s not really the big personal takeaway from the profile. She does talk about her work on the film but she spends a LOT of time getting really, really personal about her family, and specifically the fracture in her family over politics, I guess. That’s how it will be described, but I don’t think that’s the accurate word for it.
“I don’t want to disparage my family, but I know that a lot of people are in a similar position with their families. How could you raise a daughter from birth and believe that she doesn’t deserve equality? How?”
Jennifer is referring here to the US Supreme Court’s decision to strike down Roe v Wade and jeopardising women’s reproductive rights, which is a human right. And while people have made it political, human rights shouldn’t be political. This is why Jennifer, when she’s supposed to be promoting a movie, has decided to get political and personal in Vogue.
“I’ve tried to get over it and I really can’t. I can’t. I’m sorry I’m just unleashing, but I can’t f-ck with people who aren’t political anymore. You live in the United States of America. You have to be political. It’s too dire. Politics are killing people.”
Not only does Jennifer discuss her disappointment and anger with her family members, including her father, she also reveals when she got pregnant in her early 20s, likely when she was shooting one of the X-Men movies, she initially was going to get an abortion before she “had a miscarriage alone in Montreal”. Nearly a decade later she’s now a mother and says that:
“To imagine children and 18-year-olds in any sort of situation with limited options was simply too much to bear. Even more so now that she does have a baby. “I remember a million times thinking about it while I was pregnant. Thinking about the things that were happening to my body. And I had a great pregnancy. I had a very fortunate pregnancy. But every single second of my life was different. And it would occur to me sometimes: What if I was forced to do this?”
This revelation is much more significant, at least to me, than the name of her son. Here is one of the biggest movie stars of her generation, a woman from Kentucky, in the pages of Vogue, talking about how she “one hundred percent intended to get an abortion”, still feels that way today, and is angry that this basic human right is being taken away from women in America. This is important. So important that she has broken up with her family over it.
And I can imagine there are many others out there are struggling with the same, whose relationships with family and dear friends are strained by moral conflicts. As she put it, and you have to think this is specifically about her parents, “How could you raise a daughter from birth and believe that she doesn’t deserve equality?”
This is what Jennifer Lawrence has been going through privately and what she’s just made public – and it doesn’t matter that she’s a celebrity, celebrity or civilian, it’s a terrible experience. To have to sit with the fact that the people you love and those who have loved you back, support systems that cause pain and harm. If you’ve been through this, or if you are going through this, you can probably relate.
The difference for Jennifer, though, is that she’s so famous, and she’s basically putting her family sh-t on blast. It’s the most extreme case of calling out a racist, sexist relative in front of everyone at Christmas. And now everyone in her hometown will know about this rift in her family – because of course they’re going to read the Vogue piece, of course they’re going to read what she says about Donald Trump (aka “the jar of mayonnaise”) and gun reform and abortion.
That is a choice. And not an accidental choice. She didn’t stumble into an interview with Vogue and trip into talking about her family tensions. Jennifer Lawrence has always been candid, sure, but this decision to give what might be her most candid unfiltered interview is much different than the goofiness we’ve known from her in the past. She wants it to be known, in the clearest terms, where the line is and where she stands.