Jodie Turner-Smith is one half of one of Hollywood's celebrity "it" couples with actor Joshua Jackson, known best as Pacey from Dawson's Creek. While she's known herself as a model and actress whose breakthrough role was in the 2019 film Queen & Slim, she told Bustle that she's not the celebrity that people make her out to be.
"The thing is I'm not actually that famous," she said. "But people have looked at certain elements of my life, and those elements of my life have become subjects of tabloid and gossip."
Her relationship with Jackson is at the top of that list.
"When I came onto the scene I was secretly married and I was secretly pregnant. And that was a story for people," she explained, referring to photos captured of her alongside Joshua before many knew who she was. "I think a lot of it was because I was married to a white person. And I was married to a white person who has been in the public eye for decades and you know, has been someone that the tabloids like to talk about."
Her first experience with that kind of public attention came at an admittedly difficult time, what she characterized as "the most vulnerable time" of her life, as it opened her up to criticism from onlookers while she was pregnant. It exposed her to the difficulty of living in the spotlight before she experienced the high points.
"I don't want to sit here and be like a celebrity who's complaining about the very ecosystem that keeps me wealthy," she said. "But the reality is that there is an underbelly that it's very hard to deal with."
It's something that she keeps in mind as she aims to protect her now two-and-a-half year-old daughter, Janie, while continuing to work within the industry.
"I think when you create characters that people love, and you make art that people love, then it belongs to everybody. And then people sort of interpret that as you belong to everybody, and in a way, part of you kind of does, but you're also a human being. You don't belong to anybody else," she said. "I think the bottom line is, I accept the thorns that come with the rose. I accept them for me. I don't accept them for my daughter."
Luckily, Turner-Smith shares that mission with her husband and the two work as partners to create an environment where she can thrive as both an actress and a mother.
"Historically, women have always been asked to choose between being great mothers and great at their careers," she said. "Josh has always tried to maintain that I would always have all the support that I needed so that I could do both."
She also has had his support in creating the boundaries that she needs whether that's on social media — where she's no longer active on Twitter and has disabled Instagram messages from strangers — or regarding the time she spends with their child.
"Right now my daughter still comes with me most of the time, except when I go on trips that are under a week. ... Obviously it's challenging because I don't want to create a space in which my husband can't see her when he's working," she said. "That has been working for us so far."
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