Natalie Portman is backpedaling from her comments about Jessica Simpson's ability to wear a bikini and still be a virgin.
The brief war of words began when Portman, 37, told USA Today, "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. Like, I don't know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl."
Simpson, 38, fired back on Twitter, writing, "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," she wrote on Instagram. "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 I believe now – that being sexy in a bikini and being proud of my body are not synonymous with having sex."
Social media reactions to the feud were mixed on the issue, with some sticking up for Simpson and others defending Portman's comments:
On Wednesday night, Portman explained that her intention wasn't to shame the singer.
"I would never intend to shame anybody and that was absolutely not my intention," Portman told Entertainment Tonight. "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, "What I said was I was confused by mixed messages when I was a young girl growing up, and there are a lot of messages for how women should be, and women should be allowed to do whatever they want."
Portman also acknowledged she could have made her point without mentioning Simpson by name.