Did Natalie Portman’s emails destroy author Jonathan Safran Foer’s marriage?

portman t mag

Natalie Portman covers this weekend’s issue of the New York Times’ T Magazine. Portman is promoting A Tale of Love and Darkness, the film she directed, adapted from the Amos Oz novel of the same name. She’s been shopping the film to film festivals for more than a year, and she’s yet to drum up much support or buzz for it. But the New York Times is here to help! More specifically, author Jonathan Safran Foer is here to help. Foer is the author of novels like Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. He was also known in New York literary circles for being married to Nicole Krauss, another popular and well-respected author. Krauss and Foer separated in 2014 and there were whispers of another woman. I remember those whispers because I thought the “other woman” was Michelle Williams, who dated Foer last year, although I don’t know if they’re still together. But as it turns out, the “other woman” might have been Natalie Portman? This is according to New York Magazine.

Natalie Portman is on the cover of T Magazine’s new summer entertainment issue promoting her directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness, an adaptation of Israeli author Amos Oz’s best-selling memoir about his childhood in Jerusalem in the last years of the British mandate. The pictures are gorgeous, but we’re equally intrigued the accompanying feature: a new email correspondence between Portman and author Jonathan Safran Foer, penned especially for the Times. The pair have been email pen pals for over a decade, but their “epistolary archive mysteriously disappeared” earlier this year.

As you may recall, it has long been rumored that Foer developed a whopping unrequited crush on Portman after she decided to adapt one of his books. Portman allegedly rebuffed him, but not before Foer told his wife, Nicole Krauss, about it (oops!), leading to the dissolution of the literary power-couple’s marriage back in 2014. While there’s no explicit mention of romance here, these emails are certainly the kinds of intense midnight musings — lengthy, pretentious digressions on Jewish melancholy and the nature of freedom — that one might pen if one wanted to convince a very famous and beautiful actress to leave her husband for you.

[From New York Magazine]

That’s interesting to me, mostly because this is the first time I’m hearing of it. In 2014, Portman was with Benjamin Millepied, but she was emailing Foer enough that he got a bit of a crush? A crush big enough to leave his wife? Yikes.

As for the T Magazine piece, it’s absolute awful. I’m not even going to excerpt it, you can read the full cringe-inducing piece here. The “interview” is written as a series of emails back and forth between Portman and Foer, and he’s clearly in love with her and she’s clearly in love with herself. But she takes time out to gently friendzone him and he isn’t paying any attention.

Cover courtesy of T Magazine, additional photos by WENN & Getty.

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154 Responses to “Did Natalie Portman’s emails destroy author Jonathan Safran Foer’s marriage?”

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  1. tracking says:

    I seriously doubt a crush on an actress torpedoed his marriage. (I’m waiting to the read the e-mails until I have alcohol available.)

    • Maria says:

      there is a difference between having a celeb crush and writing an actual woman who happens to be famous and fall “in love” with her.

      • almondmilk says:

        I thought she was Angelina for a hot sec. They look so much alike.

        I hope NP’s marriage is ok. Read some headlines albeit tabloid.

    • Vesta says:

      Make sure that alcohol content is 40% minimum.

    • detritus says:

      Make sure it’s a lot of alcohol.
      I read everything in Judy Greer’s elegant dinner party voice. It makes things much better.

    • Esmom says:

      tracking, LMAO. I’m afraid to read them myself. I’ve enjoyed his work but I think I’m Team Nicole on this, she seems awesome.

    • Kitten says:

      I’m here to tell you that booze won’t make the emails any less insufferably pretentious.

      Oh, and boring. SO. EFFIN. BORING.

      • detritus says:

        You would think with that level of pretension that there would be some nuggets of interesting, but it was so SO mundane.
        The skunk-smoking 17 year olds that hang out near the public library come up with more interesting intellectual drivel.

      • SNAP says:

        I SO want to do a meme with this post’s pantless, turtleneck pic and put a caption on it that reads “WHAT DO YOU MEAN THAT WASN’T LACTOSE FREE?!” She looks more like she’s experiencing lactose intolerance symptoms instead of looking “sexy”. All the pics are great meme material. Caption contest anyone?

    • Ariadne says:

      He’s solely responsible for his own behavior. It takes two.

      That said, she has a pattern. This is the fourth serious relationship that’s gone down in flames after she got involved in some manner. Smoke, fire etc.

    • Annetommy says:

      She lost me when she decided not to bother putting any clothes on the lower half of her body. It’s not bloody Penthouse.

  2. Mira says:

    His ex wife is also a pretty good author. Thats all i got.

  3. Lucy2 says:

    Sounds like he destroyed his own marriage, by falling in love with someone else, even though she was not interested.

    • Erinn says:

      Yeah… and I feel like there’s probably a hell of a lot more to it than a few emails. He may have been the kind of person to do this sort of thing more than once during the marriage.

    • OhDear says:

      It sounds like he fell in love with another woman who he thought was a reflection of him, if that makes sense.

    • Samtha says:

      I agree. It’s a bit unfair to pin it on Natalie’s emails, especially since by all accounts, she never showed any signs of reciprocating his feelings. The dude wrecked his own marriage.

      • PrincessMe says:

        +1

      • Lilian says:

        Can I ask when does it move from friendly to emotional affair?

      • Cinder says:

        @Lilian I can’t say specifically which email. But it felt like the whole thing was on his part. Talking about his daily routine, mundane family vacation in Gettysburg or wherever, and mundane life having to move his car for the street sweepers on Tuesday, taking out the trash on Wednesday, buying a seltzer on the way to pick up his kids every day. Plus the somewhat subtle compliments on her and her work. It all sounds like emotional cheating out of boredom with his life and fascinated with her and her traveling and acting one. I also noticed at some points he seemed to be confused on why his life was so boring and routine even though he’s gotten the success most people want in their career (when they start talking about the true meaning of freedom and stuff). I think Natalie noticed it all on some level and just never acknowledged it or budged. At least until whenever that was that he confessed his love to her, why couldn’t that have been in an email??

      • Lilian says:

        Thanks @cinder but I meant in general. Like in life. When do u know it’s not just a friendship but an emotional affair. I am not in a relationship. I have a friendship with someone of the opposite sex who has a girlfriend. My friend says she thinks we are having an emotional affair and I’m not sure I guess?

      • Esmom says:

        Lilian, good question, it’s hard to know. I am a woman married to a man and have a couple close male friends who are gay. My friendships with them are very close, one of them is almost like a platonic soul mate. Honestly they add something to my life that my husband does not. Does that mean we’re emotionally cheating? I don’t know. I do know it’s much blurrier when there’s potential for sexual attraction, which in my case there’s not.

      • Lilian says:

        @esmom I guess in your case it would be the same as having a best friend whose female? Like you said no chance of sexual attraction. I guess in my case the line is blurred. My friend has also just told me that his girlfriend says they have been going out for 8 years and they should get married. They actually had a huge fight about it. In the end he agreed. I support him in everything. But I feel the line is thin. But I don’t know where to draw the line. Sorry. This might not be the right thread for this.

      • Starkiller says:

        The article states that they were emailing for TEN YEARS. You don’t email a married man whilst being married yourself over a business project for TEN YEARS. That is reciprocation on some level, and the emails go way beyond talking shop, as it were. He’s the one who actually busted up his marriage over it, so I’d say he bears the brunt of the blame, but she is hardly blameless here-she’s pretty clearly leading him on and getting off on an “intellectual” pining over her.

      • perplexed says:

        I have to admit I didn’t get why they were e-mailing each other for 10 years unless they were best friends (but it doesn’t seem like it?). The article made it sound like they were interviewing each other or something, but I don’t see why that kind of correspondence would last that long.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        I know this one. The answer to the question when has a friendship evolved/devolved into an emotional affair?

        Answer: when the conversations are no longer conversations that would be held in the presence of either’s significant other. It’s still the element of betrayal. If you’re talking about things you would not talk about if your spouse were present, you’re crossing the line.

    • Kiliki says:

      She was interested in him being interested.

      • MC2 says:

        Ohhh……new theory that I like! My now husband had a friend who was like that. He had a crush on her when they met, she didn’t feel the same way, she went on to date his best friend, he met me, we started dating, she went HAM on me. My husband didn’t get it and didn’t quite believe it was happening- if she didn’t have feelings for him then why would she care?! But she wanted him to forever be pining for her in the wings while her bf treated her like crap. It’s selfish to be like that and really is toying with the other person’s heart. When they start to drift away then you’ll yank them back in but never deliver. This is a sad story.

      • shannon says:

        Absolutely agree. Here she is, not even married that long, with a bably and she’s got this dude who is just about as pretentious as she is….I think she was very interested in him being interested.

      • Kitten says:

        YES this completely. She’s really into the *flattering effect*.

      • Fire Rabbit says:

        A woman’s ego.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        And so goes my theory on these types of women: They don’t wan to have sex with these men. They simply want to know they could if they wanted to. It’s all about the ego and competition with other women.

  4. Maria says:

    He could easily out pretentious Goop.

    also pretty creepy but at least he told his wife.

  5. Bishg says:

    Well, if these insufferably-pretentious and boring emails sabotaged his marriage.. it must be some kind of intellectual / emotional cheating I don’t get (and don’t want to).

    • amunet ma'at says:

      lol @ insufferably-pretentious cheating causes dissolution of marriage. You are right, that is something I do not want to get.

    • MC2 says:

      Lol- I just pictured a ‘porn’ based on these emails. Being dressed in all wool, dark at night, thick black glasses……would the foreplay be saying big words to each other?

      • EscapedConvent says:

        Hahahaha! Just curious—-would either or both of them be wearing a black beret? Also, I think it must involve a turtleneck sweater.

      • Luce says:

        @MC2, during these times of dark news, this comment has made me giggle so hard that I started crying. It’s so on-point.

      • nilber says:

        That mental imagery is on point and hysterical.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        Porn for the pretentious? I love it. MC2, you are a strange brew and that’s why you fit in perfectly here.

  6. Lahdidahbaby says:

    Ew.

  7. Bishg says:

    And by the way, who thought this would be a good idea?
    This is a character (self) assassination at its worst.

  8. Adele Dazeem says:

    I know I have no real grounds for this feeling….but I’ve never, ever liked her (other than in Beautiful Girls). She’s just off putting to me for some reason. Those emails reiterate that feeling. Is it the pretentious ness? Oddly I love Goop and her pretentiousness.

    • Little Darling says:

      I thought pretty much the same thing. I loved her in Beautiful Girls and The Professional. I didn’t love her as a manic pixie dream girl in Garden State, and as she got older, did more interviews and kept talking I found her to be more and more intolerable. I think she has the mentality that whatever she wants she gets, and I definitely think something fishy happened with she and Benjamin. Some kind of overlap/cheating/disrespect? And then she became outrageously insufferable pregnant during awards season. My girl crush was all but over by then. Now I’m just like, NEXT.

      • Kitten says:

        YES. Garden State was the first moment that I decided I didn’t like her. Before that I’d seen her in The Professional and thought she was fantastic.

        She was SO miscast in GS.

    • Wren says:

      I like Goop and her pretentiousness too! I think it’s because Goop is so genuine in her self-centered elitism, it’s all she’s ever known and it’s just how she is. Natatie’s self-centered and pretentious too, but it seems to come from a sort of hyper self-awareness. Like she’s so embarrassingly self-conscious that she can’t even open her mouth without over thinking every word. It makes her very stiff and off putting.

      • Kitten says:

        You summarized how I feel perfectly. I also have a fondness for Goop but can’t stand Natalie.

        I find Portman to be cold and humorless. That never really endears me to someone. She’s a decent actress, but nothing spectacular IMO.

      • sunny says:

        This so much- I like GP because her snobbery is/seems authentic but while I think Natalie is talented and very smart, I cannot stand her. I think Natalie often goes out of her way to sound intelligent to impress others- like her intellectualism is performance.

        As to the Foers’ marriage- who knows why they ended it. No one knows what goes on inside a marriage but the couple. Having said all that- based on these emails(terrible, snobbish, smug, emails), I feel Natalie may have tried redirect his fawning adoration and he clearly missed the point.

    • Cinder says:

      I actually like Natalie. Someone said yesterday the reason people hate Tswift is she reminds them of the popular head cheerleader in high school who told you you weren’t cool enough to join the squad/sit with them at the lunch table and people wrongly project their hate onto her. I think Natalie reminds people of the popular, smart brunette who told you you weren’t smart enough to be on the debate team/science club with her, so again the projected hate.

      • Adele Dazeem says:

        Interesting thought process…but yeah I have to respectfully disagree. Maybe it’s my generation difference, but I see Taylor as the dorky girl that tried to mean girl the cheerleaders but they just didn’t notice her enough to care. Natalie, to me, is someone who has no sense of humor or self deprecation. Gwyn to me is the OG mean girl. Now why I love her for that….THAT might be worthy of self reflection! Lol.

      • Kitten says:

        I made that comment about Swift.
        You could be right in your theory about Natalie. She does have that overachiever thing going on.

      • perplexed says:

        I think Natalie has the type of persona (i.e intelligent, classy, blah blah blah) people want to like, but then she messes it all up by opening her mouth.

    • Tara says:

      Yeah, me too. I will have to read the emails but I’ve no doubt they’re as pretentious and boring as said. I don’t know what it is about her, but I have never been able to take her, and it’s unlike me.

  9. LooseSeal says:

    Did Natalie Portman’s emails destroy his marriage? No I’m pretty sure his being a pretentious man baby destroyed his marriage.

  10. Angel says:

    Reads like an emotional affair…at the very least I can see why his wife was irritated he was emailing her that much. They didn’t have to email every day to get the interview done.

  11. pikawho? says:

    I am trying desperately to suppress the urge to photoshop a lightning shaped scar onto his forehead. He’s like Williamsburg Harry Potter!

    And Natalie has a reputation for messing with married men and then leaving them as soon as they are finally single. Aronofsky, much?

    • Tiffany says:

      Yep, or in LTR when her and the other person becomes involved. It has always been glossed over with Harvard,Harvard, Harvard.

    • grace says:

      But have you any proof that Portman and Aronofsky even had an affair? Don’t tell me her son looks like him because that’s just a huge projection. Think about this… what self respecting man would not want to be involved in his child’s life? Especially since his relationship with Rachel Weisz has been over for years.

  12. Sun says:

    Looove Nicole Krauss’ work. Foer is wildly overrated. Have no interest in Natalie Portman. There is something elitist about her.

  13. Wilma says:

    I think he inability to listen destroyed his marriage if these emails are anything to go by. He asks a question and she answers, but he never acknowledges her answer, just goes on being infatuated with his own mind.

    • LA says:

      Yeaaaaaah I’m with you. I get the impression that he is super in love with himself (and his writing) more than he’s in love with NP

    • mee says:

      haha totally. i was looking for some response to her prior email but none. all about his super deep thoughts. her emails were also just boring.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      Yes! They are both pretentious but empty in the same time, but he comes off worse than her. So in love with himself.

  14. Margo S. says:

    So not interested in reading pretentious emails. Next.

    • Aussie girl says:

      They really were pretentious emails. Maybe she didn’t encourage their marital split but I felt like she was trying to keep up and measure his pretentous intellectual dribble

      • mkyarwood says:

        I’m feeling dumb, but is that an autocorrect of intellectual drivel?

      • Aussie girl says:

        Alas,it wasn’t autocorrect but the author (me!!). I’m seriously having a moment tonight ,when words you have known forever just don’t form or are blocked in the brain😕. It’s been a long week.
        But I did mean dribble although drivel would have suited

    • JenniferJustice says:

      IKR?! If we were into that. We’d be on Goop instead of Celebitchy. Thanks, but no.

  15. mkyarwood says:

    I read that whole thing, and I’m going to be thinking about an ‘aged roast duck stuffed with hay’ for a long time. Wtf. HAY.

    • Kitten says:

      You’re my hero. I tried to get through the emails but once my eyes blurred over and I started thinking about the pizza we’re having for dinner tonight, I knew it was time to throw in the towel.

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is so silly, but what bugged me most about that article is Portman’s comment that, as an actress, she will “never have the boredom or repetitiveness of an office.” I work in an office and my job is neither boring nor repetitive — at least, no more boring than the job of someone who sits in a trailer for most of her day, waiting for someone to come and take her to the set; and no more repetitive than the job of someone who has to repeat the same scene 25 times in a row so her boss can film it from different angles.

    • OhDear says:

      A lot of people who think of themselves as artistes or free spirits seem to believe that they’re too good to work in an office. Based on Portman’s past interviews and those emails, IMO she probably thinks that. It’s fine if office life doesn’t appeal to them, but there’s always the implication that they think office workers are mindless drones, while they’re *different* and *special.*

    • shinymarbles says:

      THANK YOU. There’s a lot of self-massage happening in her emails…(and don’t get me started on his).

      Another silly thing to get annoyed about is, as a musician, I hated her description of music vs. acting as though one is some higher art involving the release of self and the other (music) is an obsessive practice with a bit of individualism thrown in to make us “different from robots.” She must forget that many musicians consider themselves artists, must put themselves aside to fully get a composition across, and that the “individualism” brought to the music is actually quite similar to the kind an actor brings along with the help of the director, setting, makeup, etc. There will always be actors and musicians that are more “practiced” than they are artistic. Her comparison is such a shallow, self-congratulatory one.

      • Pinky says:

        Anybody with the right “look” can be an actress, even a successful one. She doesn’t even have to be able to act. Exhibit A: Natalie Portman. Few people can be musicians–successful ones or otherwise. She’s full of her own sh*t. And that author guy’s too.

        –TheRealPinky

      • Lylainthecity says:

        Makes we wonder what she thinks of dancers – in particular, her husband, the ballet dancer – it’s not like they don’t obsessively practice. 🙄

    • Natalie says:

      I love Natalie Portman’s pretentiousness. She’s built up such a solid list of foot-in-mouth quotes over the years and I feel like it’s been a while since the last really good one. Glad to see that even as she grows into her thirties, being married and raising a child, she’s still as up her own rear as ever.

      In a Goop vs. Portman pretentiousness match off, I’d like to think Natalie would win.

    • Wren says:

      Well, if you’ve never actually worked in an office and are basing your opinion on movies, TV, and stereotypes……. yeah. Also, most people only expound on the negative aspects of their job, so if you had never experienced that environment you might think it was all tedious and awful.

    • sing it says:

      so much this!

      portman has always rubbed me the wrong way. she seems to fancy herself an intellectual and to me it comes across as try-hard. (oh, and i should add that this has nothing to do with her being a harvard alum. there are other ivy-educated actors/actresses whom i find quite lovely.)

    • StormsMama says:

      Anonymous
      I love your comment!

    • Veronica says:

      The funny thing is that most academic and intellectual pursuits ARE boring as sh*t. The material is what you’re passionate about, but the actual research? Some of the studies I read for my senior bio project took an entire year just to prepare specimens! I’m thinking about going for an MD PhD when I apply for medical school, and all of that was preceded by professors warning about the inevitable tedium of research. *shrugs* People need to own to the fact that life in the first world is boring for most of us. We have to make it interesting with what we choose to pursue with our available luxuries.

      • Justjj says:

        There is something David Foster Wallace wrote, who in quite fond of, entitled ‘This Is Water’ it’s brief but it describes the real meaning of education and being free from ignorance. The exact definition he gives of having an education is being present, being patient, embracing the tedium and repetitiveness but finding the beauty in it, in other people, living with absolute humility… That, to him, is being educated. He gives it as a commencement speech on YouTube if you look it up. It’s great. Anyway, Natalie has always come off like such a bratty princess. Not to mention her predilection to men who are married or in relationships. She DEFINITELY seems to be enjoying his attention. And an intimate email exchange for 10 years when you’re both married is just not appropriate. I can see how he would get the wrong idea on that fact alone. She strung him along though in those emails. I dislike her quite a bit. Snobby, elitist, Hollywood,

    • JenniferJustice says:

      Word! I work in an office no two days are alike. Furthermore, the literature and case law I read are true and real world. Much more stimulating and purposeful than reading scripts and play acting. And people would do well not to make generalized statements or judgements about things they’ve never experienced. That’s like me saying, I could never go under the knife for numerous nose jobs while claiming to embrace my heritage. You know, ’cause that’s something I haven’t myself experienced so I can’t really speak to it. Just sayin’.

  17. MissMerry says:

    sorrynotsorry

    her face is awful in that cover shot.

    she looks stupid.

    • SNAP says:

      Thanks! I’m glad i’m not the only one that thought the same thing. Her face looks weird, too contoured and the expression is not even a resting bitch face…she has a lovely face with the right makeup. This is not her style at all, they tried so hard to do the “drop dead sexy” but looks more like a lip filler and lactose intolerance cautionary tale.

    • qwerty says:

      They overdid the shadowing to create prominent cheekbones. Plus she probably sucked in her cheeks too.

  18. Samtha says:

    Lainey at Lainey Gossip has been talking for a long time about JSF’s unrequited thing for Portman. New York Magazine is way behind.

  19. Freddy Spaghetti says:

    Those emails…I really should have listened to the people who suggested alcohol before reading.

    Off to bleach eyes and brain.

    • LWithHearts says:

      I had to skim parts of the ‘interview’ because I was cringing too much. My favourite part was when Natalie describes her son having prolonged eye contact with a horse and how it made her feel ‘wonder’ .

      • Kitten says:

        The “wonder line” garbage was vomit-inducing.
        Gah. Just talk like normal humans, you knobs.

      • I Choose Me says:

        I read one email exchange and that was enough wasted time for me. Sweet Muscular Jesus was that the most eye-rolly, navel gazing, up your own arse pretentious tripe I’ve ever read.

  20. Cerce says:

    Creepy shiit.

  21. Vaya says:

    IMO, she comes off as a woman who loves having someone being “in love” or “enraptured” with her. That is very shallow and insecure. And shame on him. I hope they didn’t have kids.

    • Kiliki says:

      So disappointed, but she does.

      She IS that way. I want to like her like I used to, but I always knew your impression of her was more likely fact.

  22. Thaisajs says:

    Her emails didn’t destroy his marriage. He destroyed his marriage by being an insufferable git.

  23. Katenotkatie says:

    The schaedenfreude of watching an overrated/overpaid dude writer and an overrated/absurdly pretentious actress reveal just how insufferable they both are…solid gold. Who thought releasing these emails was a good idea? There is nothing interesting or substantive or groundbreaking in these conversations. These are not the letters of Nabokov to his wife Vera. These are exhausting navel-gazing drivel.

    I agree that Nicole Krauss is a more skilled writer (although I thought her last novel got a bit tedious at times). I hope she’s laughing her ass off at this nonsense.

  24. alice says:

    She’s so full of herself that makes her look ridiculous. Always finding a passive aggressive, coy way to enhance herself and her achievements

    One Example: “I suppose choosing to direct now is sort of a symptom of having a long career already at 35 (I’ve been working since age 11, for longer than many of my colleagues in their 50s)”

    She certainly has had a long career, which is common for many child actors, but math is probably not one of her things: most of the actresses in their 50s now have started in their early or mid 20s, which means they had been working for at least 25/30 years, pretty much like her 24 years of career. Why this stupid, pointless comparison?

    • G says:

      Ugh. I only managed to skim the emails so I didn’t see that particular quote, but again — UGH.

      This might not be the point at all, but to me it sounds as though she thinks that the work she did from, say, ages 15 to 25 is the same as the work that her “colleagues” might have done from ages 30 to 40. Which is not to say that young actors can’t do great work (plenty of examples to the contrary) but a.) she is mediocre at best and b.) skills tend to increase with practice and maturity, so maybe have a little respect for the people who might have been working at your ‘craft’ since before you were born. Also yeah, math.

      I have never, ever, ever liked her, so I’m going to admit that I am very much enjoying the ridicule she is (deservedly) getting for this. He’s no better, of course. If they both genuinely believed that it was a good idea to publish these nauseating emails then they deserve each other.

  25. Cindy says:

    Skim reading those emails was the best I could do. Insufferable. Yikes. And why the random pantless Portman pictures? Alliteration. See? I’m smart too. Ugh. They are both awful. I feel bad for his wife, but she is well rid of him. And those emails are written proof. I think my favorite line was, “so, my mother in law was telling me a story in French the other day”…..
    Maybe I will just randomly interject that into conversation from now on, see how it goes over.

    • EscapedConvent says:

      I think “pantless Portman pictures” is a fantastic phrase! Brava! That cover is weird. A turtleneck, an attempt at a femme fatale expression and…..gingham panties? I can’t imagine what stylist put that together.

    • KB says:

      Those photos were so bizarre. She’s talking about Israel and the accompanying photo is her laying on a bed in a bikini?

      • mrspanda says:

        Hahaa yes I thought the same thing re; the pantless photos! So inappropriate for the article; and interspersing the emails with those photos makes the emails themselves seem somehow intimate/sordid. But when I block out the photos and read the (painfully boring) emails – I just see two nerds naval gazing and being impressed with their own ”wry and biting observations”. If he were my husband I wouldn’t mind him sending that dribble to another woman, it would save me some boredom and plenty of eye-rolling muscle strain!

      • Kitten says:

        I thought the photos quite adequately conveyed the awkwardness of their email exchange.

      • Veronica says:

        It’s so that they don’t scare us away with her brain. Don’t worry manfolk, she might be smart, but she’s still hot! Academia didn’t take away our ability to objectify her!

      • Mrs Kravitz says:

        Don’t all aspiring-to-greatness first-time directors do photo spreads in ginham bikinis?

        The funniest part (not ha ha funny, but still) of this is that Amos Oz is alive and well and immersed in work and has enough accolades to last several lifetimes and more. He’s the last person in the world who needs an American movie star to make his voice heard.

        I wonder what he will think about the director of a movie based on his novel promoting it by modeling a bikini in the Times Style section.

    • The Swedish Isabelle says:

      And that’s not really even her cheekbones in the cover picture!

    • Snarky says:

      I had to love the fact that the pretentious emails were punctuated by shots of her not wearing pants, or in a bikini. It’s as if the photography team decided to punk everyone.

      • mrspanda says:

        Hahaa yeah the whole thing is totally awkward and funny, it makes you wonder if they had any input or signoff on the photos, if so that’s even funnier!

  26. EM says:

    Terrible cover

  27. NeoCleo says:

    I read the emails and it seemed like they were emailing “at” each other. No real connection and sometimes the disconnect seemed laughable.

    • Adele Dazeem says:

      Great insight, neocleo, and I suspect that is a trademark of narcissist behavior.

    • TwistBarbie says:

      Basically the equivalent of two people having a “conversation” where one isn’t listening but thinking “What witty thing can I say next to show people how clever and unique I am?”, except they’re both doing it.

  28. Pix says:

    Natalie Portman’s name is really getting dragged lately. Either she p!ssed someone off or the girl is MESSY.

  29. perplexed says:

    I think she looks weird in these photos. She’s prettier with clothes fully draped over her.

    Could she look any crankier on that cover?

    Those e-mails are really boring. I couldn’t get through them. I’ll wait for everyone else to summarize and let me know about the juicy bits.

  30. Paisley says:

    In one email he’s telling her about garbage truck days, much to my delight, as I’ve emailed my cousin the same bit of news. 😊

    When I think of Natalie Portman, I recall her hideous laugh as one of the presenters at an awards show.

    He fell in love with some figment of his imagination, poor bloke.

  31. Bex says:

    Why would they release these? Surely somebody in their teams would’ve read them and gone ‘uh, guys…’

    But I’m glad they did, I got a chuckle out of their pretentious ramblings. It’s like they’re not even talking to each other.

  32. FF says:

    I’d believe it.

    Her good girl rep is pushed and pervasive enough for her to get away with it (and has been for decades), and she is far and away from that rep.

    If not this guy I wouldn’t be surprised if it was someone else.

    And yes, she is that pretentious.

  33. can't even says:

    Hmm these were pretty terrible (emails). I’d love to have (hate) read the “lost” emails pre JSF divorce :-)

  34. Aysla says:

    I genuinely enjoyed reading those emails. Sometimes I get in a similar head space, where you just kind of muse and muse and muse on whatever aspects of life are confronting you or flitting through your head at the moment. I guess that makes me pretentious *shrug*.

    I do agree with the other poster that– mostly with JSF, because NP would at least reference some tidbits in his emails every now and then– they were primarily talking or musing *at* each other, rather than actually engaging and conversing with one another.

    • perplexed says:

      I think it’s okay to muse — I think releasing the musings to the public as if it’s important historical documentation is kind of dumb though. That’s probably where the pretension figures in.

  35. Pmnichols says:

    Read these if you want to fall asleep.

  36. Cheryl says:

    The interview it’s funny because he kept trying to impress her and she made sure to mention her husband and family all the time.

  37. Pandy says:

    A turtleneck and checkered underwear. Okay!

  38. Daniella says:

    There is no way this NY spread was meant to be anything other than satire, right? The pretentious emails, the half-nude portman pictures, rumors of an emotional affair…This is all too much to take seriously.

  39. Brownkid says:

    Basically it’s a really dull set of correspondence between to really boring people who are pretending to be smarts cuz they’re afraid of being perceived boring. So instead of quick two lines, they gotta out pretentious each other.

  40. Missy says:

    Idk, I just don’t see how the interview/emails are awful? My spouse’s family members are all very well educated and they email one another like this. All their correspondence is half tongue-in-cheek and to me it reads as an artistic outlet appreciated by those on the receiving end. That’s how these emails between Portman and Foer come across to me. As the published ones were from a time after Foer’s marriage ended, I hesitate to judge his tone and assume it was the same when he was with his wife. It very well may have been the same, but what do I know?

  41. Nimbolicious says:

    I think she’s blood-sucking this guy’s crush because her own husband has turned out to be somewhat of a douche and she needs the ego strokes.

  42. Veronica says:

    Her emails did not ruin his marriage. HE ruined his own marriage. Let’s not imply otherwise.

    On another note, the intellectual masturbation in those emails is hilarious. They clearly wrote expecting it to be published.

  43. Nimpy says:

    This is simply publicity and self-promotion wrapped in pseudo-intellectual packaging.

    But since these emails were written only for publication in the NYT article, they also reveal a lot about how JSF and Portman want to be seen by those who read the NYT (not necessarily who they are – although the lack of self awareness suggests we might be pretty close). These emails have been constructed for our benefit. And what do they tell us?

  44. DiamondRottweiler says:

    As someone who’s been in the writing world for 25 years, I can promise you this is the absolutely typical MO for EMWs (Established Male Writers). You have NEVER met a group of boy-men more insecure, narcissistic, chronically unfaithful, and lightning quick to kick a spouse/girlfriend to the curb if there’s even the tiniest whiff of actual celebrity near them. Even a D lister will do. EMWs are the very worst star effers on the planet because theirs is almost always training wheels-style celebrity (if they’re “literary,” as JSF is). Come to AWP in DC next year if you want to see how repulsively it goes down. It’s good sport from a distance!

    • Annie says:

      I know enough of the Bright Young Things to know you’re precisely on point. A man nicknamed Natalie “Moscow” because she gazed out the window. She loved it because it made her seem mysterious and desirable; the man loved it because she reflected his own greatness.

      An EMW can be a great writer, but that doesn’t make them great people. And it’s helpful to see they can be as navel-gazing as any Kardashian.

  45. Mandy says:

    Natalie discussing her “Wonder Line.”

    “What has cleared my Wonder Line recently? Yesterday we saw five bunnies when we left the community pool, and they didn’t clear my Wonder Line, but the look in my son’s eyes definitely did.

    He also made prolonged eye contact with a horse, during which it was pretty clear they were having some sort of communication. That made me feel wonder.”

  46. A.Key says:

    I like her e-mails, they’re pretty interesting and engaging. His are goddamn awful, fake, pretentious and so try-hard. If that’s how he writes his novels, then I’m shocked to find out he’s successful, I mean who buys that crap? It’s as if he’s exerting every brain muscle to come out sounding like a deep, talented, but unconscious of his talent, lost artistic soul, but to the umpteenth potency so he just sounds like a pathetic hipster trying desperately to kiss everyone’s ass.

  47. Tara says:

    The thing about Natalie, the main thing really… is that she’s a terrible actress. And we should refuse to forget this. I mention it anytime I talk about her which I have to admit is almost never, but still, I’ll make the effort if she comes up.

    She’s awful.

    • Tina says:

      This! I think she is incredibly, stunningly beautiful. And one of the world’s worst actors.

  48. Ann says:

    I agree with the boring comment. Why did they print those? I would have rather read an straight out interview with both of them and how humiliating.

  49. Mrs. Darcy says:

    Yep, those emails make me sleepy also (well the bits I skimmed) , just as well it’s my bed time. If they want to stroke each other’s egos I could care less, those emails were a damn snooze though and the fact they think anyone would find them interesting reading does indicate high mutual pretensions of intellectual grandeur.

  50. Michele says:

    I am going to guess right now that if some ballerina or other woman was emailing Benjamin at all hours, their deep thoughts and feelings … that it would not go over too well for the notoriously spoiled Natalie. She would not put up with some woman being that close to her husband.

    Yet she turns around and does it herself.

    I always wonder why women do this to other women. And by that I mean “why do they do things to other women, that they themselves would have no tolerance for if the shoe were on the other foot.”