Melanie Lynskey calls loss of friendship with Kate Winslet ‘heartbreaking’

Melanie Lynskey was a guest on Josh Horowitz’s Happy Sad Confused podcast promoting season two of Yellowjackets. The season is being well received by critics but people watching it are split. I have all but given up on it. It feels like Melanie is the only one promoting it, which is rough for me because her character is the main reason I am over this season. Not her, she’s doing a great job with what she has, but I hate what Shauna is doing, both past and present. Anyway, the show is all about friendships – for better or worse – and while Melanie was chatting with Josh, she told him she never got over the loss of her friendship with Kate Winslet, with whom she filmed Heavenly Creatures. Not that they aren’t friends, but after Kate rocketed to fame, there was less time for each other, which Melanie found heartbreaking. So heartbreaking, she’s hardened her heart when it comes to other actors as friends in general.

Melanie Lynskey is opening up about drifting apart from her once-close friend and Heavenly Creatures co-star Kate Winslet.

While speaking with Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast Thursday about the nature of the industry and how people “move on” following projects, the Yellowjackets actress explained that “When I lost touch with Kate, it was more heartbreaking than some breakups that I’ve had.

“It was so painful because it wasn’t like anything happened, it’s just she became a gigantic international movie star and she didn’t have a lot of time,” she added. “I wouldn’t hear from her, you know, and it just sort of like gradually happened, and it happens in relationships. People kind of drift apart, but it was so painful for me.”
They both have gone on to amass successful careers since their 1994 film, but the Intervention actress explained that her and Winslet’s friendship wasn’t the only one that hit her hard. Lynskey said that it actually “happened a couple of times.”

“I remember one time I did a movie with this actor and when we were finished I said, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m just so happy that I met you and we have this friendship,’ and she was like, ‘Yeah, I’m not friends with actors. I don’t stay friends with actors.’”

While she used to be “so sensitive” about losing relationships in the industry, over time, she learned that was just how it worked. She added, “I was always so injured by losing these, like, great loves I was having and it got easier.”

[The Hollywood Reporter]

It’s interesting to hear Melanie say this out loud. I always think the public is more invested in Hollywood friendships than those in them. There are certain people we need to be best buddies and they play those friendships up during promotions. But it would be a very difficult industry to keep a relationship, as Melanie describes. The job takes actors all over the world for months at a time. And when they aren’t working, they need to make time for family or promotion. I understand why Kate would have been such a painful loss for Melanie, though. Not only has Melanie discussed how much she looked up to Kate, but Heavenly Creatures was Melanie’s first film. It was such a pivotal point in her life, and they became fast friends when they were still so green in the industry. I remember reading they became close with each other’s families as well so I’ll bet losing touch stung.

Of course, Kate’s career took off after Creatures and Melanie was sent home from the film’s promotional junket by Harvey Weinstein. And they lived on separate continents, so odds were stacked against them staying in touch. People like Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer were roommates before they made it big and lived in the same area, they worked at staying friends. I think they are the exception, though, Like Gayle King and Oprah. People who really carve out time together. I think many actors are excited to see each other when they can but in reality, most friendships, like Melanie said, are only going to be sustainable for the length of the film.

Photo credit: Cover Images, and Getty

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46 Responses to “Melanie Lynskey calls loss of friendship with Kate Winslet ‘heartbreaking’”

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  1. Ang says:

    Ugh, that Weinstein hint makes me sick, knowing what we know now. What did she refuse to do? What did Kate do?

    • Laura says:

      What was Kate forced to do you mean.

      • Nikki says:

        Laura, you don’t know this for a fact. Sometimes predators don’t treat everyone the same, precisely to discredit their accusers.

    • The Recluse says:

      Probably toxic ‘lookism’. Winslet was pretty. Melanie wasn’t – by Weinstein’s standards, not that he was every anything to look at, as well as being a monster.

  2. ELX says:

    They were kids —my guess is he was his usual horrible self and decided she wasn’t pretty enough to do promotion.

    • Jennifer says:

      Yeah, this.

    • Shirin says:

      I’ve loved Melanie Linsky for 20 years, but her comments about friends constantly abandoning her gets my guard up.

      I was raised by a textbook narcissist who openly told me daily that my wants, needs, and feelings did not matter and I would be punished for even bringing any of them up. My entire life was to center around catering to the narcissist’s wants, needs, and feelings and that’s exactly what I was trained to do, like an animal.

      This made me a magnet for needy people. Not all them were narcissists, some of them were just really codependent or troubled. But I spent a good three or four years as a teenager being trauma dumped on all day and all night by various peers. It was the sort of situation where I wasn’t allowed to sleep because I had to be up at 2:00 a.m. consoling someone who claimed they would take drastic measures if I wasn’t “there for them.”

      And then when I began dating men, this became 10 times worse. I was the ultimate people pleaser and it wasn’t just damaged people and narcissists who were attracted to that anymore, it was also predators.

      I ended up getting into some very dangerous situations because of this and it actually took domestic violence counseling to help me learn how to set boundaries with ANYONE.

      Not just the men enacting domestic violence on me. ALSO the super “vulnerable” female friends who kept me up all night trauma dumping, but were nowhere to be found when I was the one who needed help. The ones who could go on and on about their own issues for hours nightly, but if I tried to bring up an issue of my own, they would do things like open up a video on their phone and start watching it.

      As I got way better at setting boundaries with all these people, I started being able to identify the red flags in advance.

      One of the biggest red flags is a person that claims that others always abandon them and are never there for them.

      The very moment I hear that or anything like it, all my hackles go up.

      It’s just not a very common thing for a person to be one-sidedly friend dumped multiple times.

      If that is happening so often, there is a reason.

      It could be that this person just needs to practice social skills. That’s one thing.

      But it’s also very common that this person has major problems with boundaries. That they will expect to be centered and “taken care of” to an extent that is too much for the other person. That they expect more attention than the other person has to give. That they expect to be more of a priority in the other person’s life than the other person wishes to make them. That they have a lot of trouble taking no for an answer and will guilt trip or cry or incessantly ask what they did wrong if someone tries to set a boundary.

      Just saying.

      • Newbie says:

        I’m so sorry this happened to you. Reading this post made me uncomfortable, but I couldn’t place the reason until I read your reply and realized why.

  3. Louise177 says:

    Even in the best of circumstances people lose friendships. People move, have families, just naturally grow apart. I guess I feel like Melanie is attacking Kate, putting work ahead of friends, when it’s just life happens.

    • LIONE says:

      How is it an attack to be honest about how something you experienced was painful?

    • Fabiola says:

      Melanie seems like a very needy person. People move on and they don’t maintain friendships forever with some people. It happens. Life happens. Move on.

      • Anners says:

        She was only 15 or 16 when that movie came out – it was probably her first experience of a close friendship fizzling out. I still remember (and regret) some of my friendships that ended in my teens and early twenties. I don’t think that makes me needy or unable to deal with the realities of life. Because of those first painful experiences, I’m much more calm and accepting when friendships fizzle out now.

  4. Roop says:

    Friendships on set or in theatre can be intense. You spend so much time together, no one “on the outside” understands the pressures and challenges you face throughout that time, and it’s just really emotionally intense, even when it’s all super positive. When you become tight with your castmates, it’s wonderful! But you also develop these deep friendships much faster than you would “in real life.”

    And then when your play/movie ends, you just assume that you will continue to stay close and talk everyday. But often (not always) you weren’t friends outside of that play or movie for many reasons – location, age, different interests, etc. And suddenly this friendship that felt so easy on set/backstage feels awkward.

    Sometimes you do stay friends for life. It happens. But what is weird is that it’s actually really hard to predict which friendships will last and which ones won’t.

    I feel for Melanie, that must have been so hard. And that movie was INTENSE. The girls were so young. It must have been brutal to suddenly lose that friendship.

    • AnnaKist says:

      Well said, Roop. I’ve always been intrigued by cast members who fall in love on set. It seems to happen on almost every film set, particularly when the leading lady and leading man are sharing an intense, romantic relationship in the movie, and it spills over into real life. This is where I roll my eyes because it has been happening for ever and yet no one seems to learn that these relationships rarely last. But maybe they are OK with that. I just find it fascinating.

      • Roop says:

        It IS fascinating!!!

        The long hours and isolation from your family/usual friends/coworkers, etc, kind of compound it all.

        And it’s not like you’re building a car or shed together or something. You’re creating an emotional experience for other people to watch, and so you go on one hell of an emotional journey to bring it to life. I should clarify that it isn’t always that emotional. Sometimes it’s just a lot of fun. And sometimes it’s no fun. Hahaha.

    • Nikki says:

      My son was in the film industry for a while, so I came to write the same things you said, Roop. I hope people don’t interpret this as unkindness on Kate’s part. To me, it’s painful, but not as painful as being ghosted.

      • Roop says:

        @Nikki so interesting that your son had the same experience. And you’re right, being ghosted is much more painful!

        I find that this gets easier for me over time. The more shows I do, the more I am at peace with not being friends with these people afterwards. I always hope that we will be, and I mourn for a bit when the whole experience is over, but I move on faster now.

        Melanie was really, really young when this happened. And she and Kate hit international stardom together. You would totally cling to the other person in that case. And of course Melanie was sent home early, and that would just be devastating. I can completely understand why this was so hard on her. Anyone in her shoes would have been crushed by that experience.

  5. manda says:

    Melanie Lynsky was recently on the los culturistas podcast and she is wonderful!

    someone told me once you are friends with people “for a reason, a season, or a lifetime,” and it’s so true. Friends at work are typically friends because of proximity (for a reason), and it doesn’t meant they aren’t healthy, but when that reason goes away, it’s not uncommon for things to fizzle.

    I was happy to see you on the fence about yellowjackets. I have been feeling like such a weirdo because I just don’t get why people think that show is so good! Interesting for sure, there’s definitely interesting stuff to see and look at, but I’ve heard people calling it the greatest show on right now and I’m like, huh? I do want to know what’s going on, but I’m betting it will be a let down

    • Slush says:

      I gave up on YJ after the first season. I realized I cared infinitely more about the story happening in the past than the one in the present. I was literally fast forwarding through the present scenes.

      I also got major LOST vibes. I just have a feeling this will go on way longer than it should with no real plan from the writers.

    • Becks1 says:

      We literally just started watching YJ two nights ago (season 1 obviously.) WHY did no one mention how scary this show is??? I spent half of the episode last night with my hands in my ears and my eyes squeezed shut.

      So far we are only 3 episodes in but I do wish there was more about what happened in the past. that’s what I thought it was all going to be about. My husband loves it though and it was my suggestion so we can’t just stop watching it lol.

  6. Lucy2 says:

    I’ve lost several of the major friendships in my life, and it’s always hard. People grow apart though, or life takes you elsewhere, but when I think about it now, I try to just be grateful I had them for the time I did. I hope Melanie can feel that way too. It’s hard when you are a very sensitive person, as she seems to be, and I am too.

  7. Margaret says:

    Am I the only person who finds Melanie’s fixation on Kate a little odd? Maybe not the fixation itself, they were young, but the repeated interviews over the years. No one owes you attention. Life happens. Why keep hashing over it for so many years… in public?

    • Josephine says:

      Some losses just hit you hard, I think. And if she is sensitive, maybe she mistakenly thought they were much better friends than they were.

      My thought is that I cannot imagine most actors make good friends. They seem exceptionally focused on themselves, which is probably what makese many of them decent actors, but not particuraly good partners or friends.

    • Kebbie says:

      I kind of think she’s intentionally calling Kate out for dropping her once she got famous, but in a roundabout way where she can later say “that’s not what I meant at all!” There’s no reason to specifically name Kate, she didn’t name the other actor.

      Like you said, she’s already told this story publicly. I guess she knows saying the name Kate Winslet will grab headlines. But Kate is always using Leo’s name to grab headlines so 🤷‍♀️

    • Torttu says:

      Yes I think it’s a little odd. But I do like Melanie.

    • blue says:

      I agree with Margaret. Teenagers living on different continents (and in different time zones, before widespread social media use) are unlikely to stay in close contact without ongoing contact through family, school, or work.
      Mel’s constant moaning comes off as self-pity and envy of Kate’s bigger career.

    • tealily says:

      I think it might have something to do with the nature of that film, which is about a very intense friendship, and because it was the first big role for both of them. Their careers took such different paths almost immediately afterwards when Kate’s career blew up, and Melanie is really just now getting her due. When interviewers go back through her career, it seems like such an obvious thing to ask her about.

  8. Kokiri says:

    People define friendship differently.
    There’s different kinds, circumstantial & long term & acquaintance.
    Maybe Kate didn’t think they were as close as Melanie thought.
    I mean, I get that completely. I don’t do friends or friendships at all(autistic, & it’s way more work than anything good, so many little rules of engagement). But it kinda sounds like she wants friends but doesn’t know how to do long term.
    I never wanted friends, but society pushes it on you. That whole “circle of friends” thing & you have to have a close group of women friends or you’re not living your best life? Nah.
    So maybe she just needs to let go of what people expect & be herself.

    • Torttu says:

      This is true, friendships are constantly pushed like relationships, like there’s something wrong with you if you don’t want/need any. All these movies of girlfriends getting together, growing old together, blah blah blah, “you too need this or you have failed in life, now go get those friends!”

      • Andrea says:

        Some “friends” of mine have felt it odd my best friend of over 30 years is male. Why does it only have to be women? I have both male and female close friends. In fact, one of my exes we are such good friends, I was at his rehearsal dinner and wedding and he and his wife mail me a Christmas card yearly. Why should I exclusively have female friends? I have found it only bothers women who feel it doesn’t fit their trope that all men are jerks if I am close with some of them!

      • Deering24 says:

        Torttu and Kokiri–thank you _so_ much!! Female friendships are the new media equivalent to “your life is nothing if you don’t have a man” cliche. Most of those types of movies come across as patronizing and cutesy to me in any case, but I knew there was another reason I didn’t like them. Life changes, one matures, responsibilities grow, and friendships often have an expiration date. Putting pressure on people to maintain friendships or else suffer “eternal loneliness” is unrealistic and cruel. And if you eventually realize your friendship is based on you being a trauma dumpster/always there for every-damn-body, then cutting ties is way better than clinging to something for the sake of “besties forever.” I’m not saying this is the deal with Lynskey, but I definitely can’t stand that “if you don’t have friends forever, you’re going to end up badly” crap.

  9. jess says:

    I love everything about Melanie Lynskey and season one AND two of Yellowjackets. (Still haven’t watched the latest episode tho). I feel for her, I think we have all had friendships that we wish would stand the test of time, but they just didn’t.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      Yes, yes and yes! Love the show so much. The actors are phenomenal. Julia is frakking hysterical and so is Christina! So entertaining. I love Melanie, truly.

  10. ama1977 says:

    I think that’s the nature of work friendships, which is what that was for them (even if the work is of a very different nature than what most of us do!) I used to work in a stressful/busy, demanding industry with long hours, and you spend so much time with the same few people that you do form very close friendships, but when someone leaves, the proximity that “made” the friendship is gone and it’s rare to maintain that bond. I took it hard once when someone who I was very close to and considered a mentor left the industry and we just drifted apart, but now I can see that there wasn’t really any other way for that to be.

    I’ve got close friends at work now that I hope I would maintain a relationship with if one of us left or what have you, but it’s certainly not a given. I’m sure Melanie’s situation is enhanced by the fact that they were so young and kind of in the same boat when the movie was made, then everything changed for Kate seemingly overnight. And it’s never easy to be the one who is “left” regardless of age, but it’s especially hard when you’re young, I think.

  11. Sandra says:

    I’m curious who told her straight up “no we aren’t friends, I’m not friends with you”
    I’m sure that ML paraphrased the situation significantly but to me it seems like an odd discussion to have whatever the nuance.

  12. Commielafo says:

    I’m not an actor but, over the course of my career, I have made friends with many actors. And… the thing is, unless you’re a power player in the industry or another actor with equal or greater status, if they get a “better” offer than hanging out with you, they’ll always take it. This is why I am now friendly with actors, but not (and will never be) friends with them.

  13. Zoe says:

    Many actors are hypersensitive by nature. What isn’t a big deal to some or “move on” for others can be catastrophic for others. By far thr worse breakup I had wasn’t romantic but with a longtime friend. Folks don’t talk about that type of pain often enough. Some pain on those levels can be traumatic. Glad to see someone verbalize it.

    • ama1977 says:

      I wholeheartedly agree with this. I had a very close (best) friend all of my life. We met when we were 6. She was in my wedding and had the sweetest personalized gift made for my first child when I was expecting him we were 30, and talked about how much she loved being his honorary aunt. We lived in different states, but still talked often and supported each other (I thought.)

      She never met my second child (born when we were 35) and stopped returning my calls/texts soon after that. It took me a while to realize because we’d always played “phone tag” to some extent as busy people. It’s been over 10 years and it still stings, because I don’t know why. I am getting a little emotional writing this, to be honest. It makes you feel “less than” to be rejected in that way.

      I still think of her on her birthday and other special occasions (the anniversary of her father’s passing, other days that remind me of her) and I don’t know if I’ll ever truly be “over it.” I miss what I thought we had, and that’s painful.

    • Anners says:

      The break up that hit me hardest and left me breathless was the breakup of a friendship, too. It was toxic, and I see now that it was all for the best, but at the time I was completely taken aback by the suddenness and finality of the ending. I’d had friendships fade out or blow up, but never had I been ghosted like that. I felt silly for how emotional I was because it wasn’t a romance. I’m glad we’re starting to talk about how ending any relationship can hurt just as deeply as ending a dating relationship.

      • ama1977 says:

        @Anners, a hug to you! It is so painful, even if you come to realize that it was ultimately for the best.

        I’m so fortunate to have a lot of people who love me and who I love, a beautiful family, a career, and a really full life, but I still have a little place that will never be filled in because I miss my friend. I think about calling or texting her sometimes, but then I think that she must have had a reason and I should respect her silence. It makes me think there is something unloveable about me, or that I did something wrong, and it just hurts.

        I’m sorry you had a friend breakup that hurt you, and I am also glad that we’re starting to talk about how the end of any close relationship can throw you off-balance.

  14. Britney says:

    Interesting blind item there… the “actress” she worked with who said “I’m not friends with actors” is *definitely* Reese Witherspoon from when they worked together on Sweet Home Alabama.

  15. Mrs.Krabapple says:

    Kate Winslet is a mess. Exaggerating stories about saving an old woman in a fire (the woman denies Kate’s version); lying about having a c-section; hugging and kissing Roman Polanski on stage; mocking other actor’s weight gain and then excusing it by saying she was “just taking the piss out of them”; and so much more. The question I would ask is why anyone would *want* to be friends with Kate Winslet?

    • yellowy says:

      Thank you Mrs Krabapple!

      Kate Winslet is an egomaniacal mess. 30 years of her banging on about how normal she is has left its mark. When she claimed she doesn’t campaign for awards season, it was the final nail the in coffin, I can’t stand her.

      As for Lynskey, she’s was being honest about different kinds of heartbreak, an expected kind, which is difficult to discuss. All the responses here accusing of jealousy, narcissism and attacking poor widdle Kate is a case in point.

      Kate Winslet was a experienced TV actor when she did Heavenly Creatures and she is superbly good at PR and personal branding – hers is “unpretentious realness”. Kenneth Branagh came close to casting her as Hero in Much Ado About Nothing when she was 16 because she was so self assured she behaved like a 25 year old. Melanie Lynskey was plucked from high school to play a plain Jane. Of course they were going to have different experiences.

  16. Alexa says:

    Fun fact: she was brought back to the US in the late 90s by the director Mark Tapio Kines for the indie movie “Foreign Correspondents” (

  17. Beelie says:

    The show is getting very supernatural. That’s what is losing me and I imagine everyone else.