Natalie Portman on Learning She Made Less Than a Male Co-Star

January 11th 2017

Almie Rose

Natalie Portman just revealed that despite her Best Actress Oscar win that she's still been paid much less than her male co-star. 


"I knew and I went along with it..."

The actress recently exposed just how bad the gender wage gap — especially in Hollywood — really is in an interview she gave for the February issue of the U.K. edition of Marie Claire

Natalie Portman

In 2011, the same year Portman won a Best Actress Academy Award for "Black Swan," she starred in the movie "No Strings Attached" with Ashton Kutcher. However, she claimed that Kutcher was paid "three times more" than her. 

"I knew and I went along with it because there’s this thing with 'quotes' in Hollywood… His [quote] was three times higher than mine so they said he should get three times more. I wasn’t as pissed as I should have been," she told Marie Claire. "I mean, we get paid a lot, so it’s hard to complain, but the disparity is crazy."

She went on to say:

"Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents to the dollar. In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar. I don’t think women and men are more or less capable. We just have a clear issue with women not having opportunities. We need to be part of the solution, not perpetuating the problem."

Portman raises a strong point.

It doesn't matter if a woman is an A-list Hollywood actress or a veterinarian in Florida — women shouldn't be paid less than their male counterparts solely because of their gender.

But the gender wage gap exists. "'On average, full-time working women earn just 78 cents for every dollar a man earns,' says a White House page about the pay gap between men and women. Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has repeated this statistic, and Hillary Clinton said 77 cents last year. (This figure is lower for women of color.)," Thor Benson of ATTN: reported in September 2015.

Women are paid 77-78 cents to the dollar every man makes, according to an U.S. Census Bureau report from 2013. These findings have been backed up from The National Women's Law Center, who found that women make 78 cents to every dollar earned by a man.

The discrepancy in pay is highest in Hollywood.

Though Portman said she wasn't "as pissed" as she should have been because her salary is so high to begin with, that shouldn't be a reason for her to deny herself equal pay. In 2015, the highest-paid actress, Jennifer Lawrence, earned $52 million in comparison to the $80 million earned by the highest-paid actor, Robert Downey, Jr., as ATTN: reported in September 2015

 "When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early," Jennifer Lawrence wrote in her piece titled, "Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co‑Stars?" for Lenny Letter in October 2015

If an A-list actress can come out to say that she feels like she failed at negotiating her pay, then it's likely there are many other discouraged women out there who aren't in Hollywood but who are struggling with the very same issue. 

So when women like Natalie Portman and Jennifer Lawrence speak out against the gender wage gap, it's a start to building not only a better path towards equal pay, but it also sparks a necessary conversation on an important issue.