Like many of fellow pop singers that broke into the scene in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Jessica Simpson wasn't afraid to let her sexuality be on the forefront.
In 1999, at the age of 19, the "With You" famously singer posed on the cover of a magazine while wearing a bikini, and it was captioned with the words "I'm a virgin."
Nearly 20 years later, Simpson is forced to stand up for herself and defend her decision to take the risqué photo after Natalie Portman used her as an example of how the entertainment industry oversexualizes women.
"I remember being a teenager, and there was Jessica Simpson on the cover of a magazine saying ‘I’m a virgin,’ while wearing a bikini, and I was confused,” Portman said in an interview with USA Today. “Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl."
Shortly after these remarks were published, Simpson took to Instagram to respond to Portman, admitting that she was "disappointed" before reminding the actress that as a public figure she of all people should know what it is like to not be able to always control your image.
“@Natalieportman — I was disappointed this morning when I read that I confused you by wearing a bikini in a published photo taken of me when I was still a virgin in 1999. As public figures, we both know our image is not totally in our control at all times, and that the industry we work in often tries to define us and box us in.
"However, I was taught to be myself and honor the different ways all women express themselves, which is why I believed then — and believe now — that being sexy in a bikini and being proud of my body art not synonymous with having sex,"
The mother of two also touched on why it is important to support other women's choices even if they don't align with your beliefs.
"I have always embraced being a role model to all women to let them know they can look however they want, wear whatever they want and have sex or not have sex with whomever they want. They power lies within us as individuals. I have made it my practice to not shame other women for their choices. In this era of Time’s Up and all the great work you have done for women, I encourage you to do the same.”
While Portman's team did not immediately address the situation, the actress did hear Simpson's message loud and clear and wasted no time in sending her an apology.
Portman, who is portraying a pop star in her latest film Vox Lux, told Entertainment Tonight that she "would never intend to shame anybody and that was absolutely not my intention."
"I was really talking about mixed media messages out there for young women and completely apologize for any hurt it may have caused because that was definitely not my intention," she added.
The Black Swan star cleared things up by explaining that her initial comments were meant to paint a picture of the contradictory messages she was exposed to in the media when she was younger.
"There are a lot of messages for how women should be, and women should be allowed to do whatever they want," she told the outlet, adding that "it is a mistake to say anyone's name."
Portman, an outspoken advocate for the Time's Up movement, has always been vocal about how women should be treated in and outside of Hollywood, so there were many fans who came to her defense.
“I think you might have taken her comments the wrong way and out of context,” one user wrote.
A source close to Simpson told People that the singer was not trying to start beef with Portman, but she reacted in the way she did because she "feels very strongly about being a role model and it hurt her to read those comments."
At the end of the day, both women were able to effectively communicate their feelings and solve the misunderstanding in a respectful manner.
The moral of the story is that we should all take a second to think of the impact our words can have on others. Even if we never have the intention of being hurtful, what we say can be taken out of context by someone else.