Sienna Miller: ‘There’s a misogyny that is ingrained in men of my age and older’

Sienna Miller covers the December issue of British Vogue, and she’s one of several cover stars. Sienna is promoting some specific projects – her successful turn in Anatomy of a Scandal (a much-watched Netflix series) and Apple’s upcoming futuristic drama, Extrapolations, which is about climate change and whales. The most interesting part of this interview is when she gets into the nitty-gritty of her (now settled) lawsuit against The Sun and how she was screwed over so thoroughly by the British tabloid media for years. Some highlights:

The Sun reporting, in 2005, that she was pregnant: Her choice not to continue with the pregnancy was, she tells me, “in many ways impacted by that behaviour”. In the aftermath, “People on the street would shout ‘baby killer’ at me. That’s fine. That’s their opinion. You know, there’s always going to be people like that.”

Suing The Sun, settling out of court even though she would have loved a trial: “I would love to not have to tell the f**king world that I had an abortion that I didn’t want. But the fact is, all of that is out there anyway, what can I do with it? I can walk away or sweep it under the carpet or I can advocate for some form of justice, not necessarily only for me, because in many ways it’s so in the past and life has really moved on, but for people who don’t have that kind of outreach.”

She was disappointed in the reaction to her defiant, angry speech after she settled: “I thought that this was going to be a bomb, because it was very direct.” That said, journalists have been in touch, both anonymously with “intel” to help her case and also to apologise for their treatment of her. Some she has met. But it’s still “really upsetting to step back”, she admits. Recently, she took part in an investigative documentary about the phone hacking scandal in which she “got interviewed intimately for three hours and shown articles and, you know, I cried, which I just would never want to do. It’s part of the fabric of what I am today, for sure. Which is actually an extraordinary addition to the substance of a person.”

Her reaction at the time the media was spying on her: “A couple of years of absolutely chaotic behaviour. I did not know which way was up or down. I was, I suppose, in the midst of an absolute breakdown on every single level.” Back then, she “couldn’t say what had actually happened. My way of dealing with that was to slightly lose it. And I did, I was running around the Vanity Fair party with no shoes on and getting really pissed. I don’t judge it, necessarily… There are some things I regret, because I wish I’d been more protected. But life was so out of control. It’s a miracle that I actually retained a career and a life.”

She was “offered less than half” a male costar’s salary on a Broadway play: “I said to the producer, who was extremely powerful, it’s not about money – it’s about fairness and respect, thinking they’d come back and say, ‘Of course, of course.’ But they didn’t. They just said, ‘Well f**k off then,’” she snorts. (The play happened, but she won’t name it – “I don’t want to be mean.”)

She loved Chadwick Boseman: The late actor Chadwick Boseman reallocated some of his salary so Miller’s fee could be met for their 2019 film 21 Bridges, on which Boseman was also a producer. Afterwards, she told him, “‘What you did was extraordinary and meant the world.’ He came up to me when we wrapped and said, ‘You got paid what you deserved.’”

She’s impressed by how things have changed. Actors who are “10 years younger have the word ‘no’ in their language in a way that I didn’t. [Now] if you say, ‘I don’t feel comfortable’ in front of any form of executive, they’re sh-tting their pants. You’re included in a conversation about your level of comfort. It’s changed everything.”

Her 30s: “My thirties were hard. Really hard. There was a lot of anxiety. Relationships hadn’t worked out – I imagined that I would be married with three kids, being a great mum. I love being a mother… I’d invested what felt like the important years in something that was just a bucket with a hole in it of a person. I wasted time. And I felt like time was really my currency.” She’s quick to point out she is not referring to Tom Sturridge, Marlowe’s father and her “best friend”.

She’s currently seeing model Oli Green, 15 years her junior: “There’s a misogyny that is ingrained in men of my age and older that I don’t see in [the] generation below.”

She plans to move back to the UK soon. New York is “unravelling”, she says. Besides, she misses the British “irreverence, the humour, laughing with a cabbie, a good bloody pub”.

She’s feeling herself at 40: “When I got to 40, it was like coming out of a clearing.I felt so excited. As a young woman I was so trivialised and so insubstantial-seeming, but there’s very little that anyone can say to a 40-year-old woman. And I also don’t give a f**k. It was such a headline in my life – what people thought of me. It was so loud that I believed it. Now I’ve got to a point where it’s absolutely none of your business. I will do my job. I will be a pleasure to work with. I will raise my girl. And I will live my life.”

[From British Vogue]

One, I bet the Broadway producer was Scott Rudin. Two, she always tells that Chadwick Boseman story and it’s lovely. So many actors have similar stories about him, how gracious he was, how he stood up for his coworkers and for women. Three, is New York unraveling? Perhaps, but from where I sit, the UK seems to be unraveling too, maybe even more than NYC?

I appreciate her honesty about her “rough” 30s, wasting time in a nowhere relationship with the wrong guy, feeling like she wasn’t living the life she was supposed to be living. I appreciate her honesty about how out-of-control everything felt in her 20s too, how she went a bit “mad” for a while, how much she cared what people thought.

Cover & IG courtesy of British Vogue.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

14 Responses to “Sienna Miller: ‘There’s a misogyny that is ingrained in men of my age and older’”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Normades says:

    I was never a fan because of the whole Sienna vs Kate Moss thing.
    But now that they’re speaking KM defending Johnny Depp is a terrible look.

    This is a great interview and she had great things to say.

  2. girl_ninja says:

    I have really come to respect Sienna. I always side-eyed her when the details about her relationship with Jude came out and how they got started. I think that she’s incredibly strong and real and a true fighter. She really took it to the British press for the shit they gave her and her realness about anxiety is important.

    As for the younger men of the Gen Z generation not being misogynist? Just ask Gen Z women and they will tell you different. Her relationship with her boyfriend is interesting. I guess it’s a case by case basis. I know for me I am knocking on 50 and dated a man 12 years younger than me. He had already been married twice (that should have been HUGE red flags for me) and showed a great deal of maturity. But ultimately the relationship ended because he was a hot mess.

    Her boyfriend seems to come from a wealthy family of influence so the power dynamic may be more balanced. If If men can do it why not women?

  3. Barbiem says:

    beautiful comment about Chadwick. Never knew that

  4. Kate says:

    I was with her until the NY comment. I know that much of what happened to Prince Harry, happened to Sienna and some of the same private investigators were involved in spying.

  5. HeyKay says:

    Interesting how her past messy personal life still dogs her.
    Meanwhile Hugh Grant has had a messy past personal life for decades and yet, he is “beloved” despite it.
    Both talented.

  6. Wilma says:

    It reads as a more honest interview than what I’ve read of her before.

  7. Dierski says:

    I am similar age to Sienna Miller, and very much agree about her comment on men our age and older having a deeply ingrained misogyny, that they themselves were not even aware of until VERY recently. It can’t be understated that with the Me Too movements, the permanence and visibility of the Internet, and the growing awareness about what misogyny actually is, many early-middle-aged men (that aren’t the stereotypical ‘old & out of touch’) became aware of what sh*t-heads they have been in the past.

    Growing up in the 90s, I heard the defiant and proud words around me of Girl Power and Feminism/Equality being shouted by newly powerful and popular women, but my (our) female lived experience at the time was still surrounded by an outspoken, harsh, dominant masculinity, and a true outward mocking by males of ALL THINGS FEMALE, at any time when males were involved. I have had many a moment looking back at how my male friends acted/spoke/etc. and realized I was tolerating abhorrent things, yet kept my mouth shut then out of self preservation.

    The atmosphere around speaking up for young people then just wasn’t the same… and I share Sienna’s awe and respect for the younger generations, who have made themselves heard and demand respect. Their example has inspired and empowered me more than anything from my youth.

    Not that anything is perfect now, but I feel encouraged to see the huge shifts in just my lifetime for women & equality, and can palpably feel the momentum gaining speed as we continue to call out all the BS. Just to have your words taken seriously as a woman still sometimes feels new to me.

  8. Otaku fairy says:

    Younger millennial and gen z guys definitely have their misogyny too, but there are some differences. Older males are better at pathologizing women’s objections to their misogyny and trad values. They often do it in a way that makes them look like concerned saviors.
    Everyone has to work really hard to not let it rub off on them, especially their peers.

    Older men’s standards for how women have to live and present themselves in order to not deserve- or in the very least, be at fault for- physical, emotional, or sexual abuse also tend to be even higher. Even more unrealistic. Not that this lets younger men off the hook, because there needs to be no standard women have to meet in that area at all to not deserve or get blamed for abuse. In order for women to be safe and liberated, it has to become normal and acceptable to care about a woman no matter what she’s done with her body. It’s a very slow process, but I really am grateful for all of the women, famous and not, who have been gradually loosening up those riduculous standards over the past several decades. 💗

    • B says:

      @OTAKU – I got reflux when I read this.
      “Older males are better at pathologizing women’s objections to their misogyny and trad values.”
      What an awful skill to excel at. Every time a gray divorce happens my first response is, oh, a kid turned 18 or graduated college and now she’s not frightened for what will happen for her child any more and she can finally climb out of the sewer.

  9. HeyKay says:

    B says,
    The last paragraph of your post really has a ton of truth in it!
    Well said.

  10. Isabella says:

    Seriously, every generation says that about NY & NY is still there. It is definitely a city for young people and the very rich–and maybe Sienna is not in sync with it anymore.

  11. Isabella says:

    Seriously, every generation says that about NY & NY is still there. It is definitely a city for young people and the very rich–and maybe Sienna is quite right for it anymore.

    She is gorgeous and I really like her and her acting, but that bright blue leather outfit is horrendous.

    I assume Jude law is the bucket with the hole in it that she wasted her young years on.

  12. AnneL says:

    She was the best thing about “Anatomy Of A Scandal,” which was overall a mixed bag IMO. I was impressed by her performance. She’s stunning, too.

    It’s interesting that her character on that show is also looking back at the 90s and re-assessing herself, her partner and her marriage in light of just how sexist and screwed up things still were then. She was acting out of self-preservation and didn’t realize how wrong it was that she had to do that.

    I really liked Sophie’s journey and related to many aspects of it.

  13. Abbie says:

    I don’t get this mentality that a failed relationship was a “waste”. It’s your life, time you spent doing something and loving someone. How is it a waste? It’s an experience that taught you something and gave you memories. It’s part of life.
    It seems Sienna (and many other people) approach relationships as if they’re buying stocks in a new company. Aren’t you just happy to be with someone you supposedly love? Or are you entering a well-arranged contract?
    Not every relationship has to result in children and marriage, not every relationship has to last your whole life until you die. Not every friendship has to last a lifetime and never change. All types of relationships evolve over time. That doesn’t make them a failure.
    Supposedly we’ve evolved as society but this medieval ideology of how we should construct and evaluate our lives is still present, and women especially buy into it. I think she’s got a lot of internalized misogyny of her own generation as well, it’s not just that men have it and women are immune to it.