Maggie Gyllenhaal: The Paparazzi Can Be “So Brutal, So Unkind”

Maggie Gyllenhaal and husband Peter Sarsgaard welcomed daughter Gloria Ray last month. And while we were on ‘baby bump watch’ throughout her pregnancy, the actress – who is also mom to 5-year-old daughter Ramona – says paparazzi shots of her family are the one subject of which ignorance is bliss.

“I do not go near them,” Maggie tells Huffington Post about the paps. “I don’t know if they do it to me or if they don’t, because when I used to even peek a little bit I found it so brutal, and so unkind. Sometimes someone will send me something or say ‘Oh, I saw a picture of you and Ramona on the street.’ And I always write back and say I just don’t want to know.”

Maggie goes on to say her life with the lingering paparazzi can be “confusing.”

It’s funny because I feel this way about almost nothing else. Everything else in my life I think ‘I want all the information.’ I want to know as much as I can know,” she adds. “In this case, if someone followed my 5-year-old to kindergarten and I didn’t know, I would rather just not know. I get so confused by all of that.”

But she says the family’s move to Brooklyn has helped make life more low-key.

It’s much better now. Last time, when my daughter [Ramona] was born, I was living in the West Village. Everything was different. I had, like, seven movies come out at once.”

The Academy Award-nominated actress – whose breakout role came as a kinky administrative assistant in the 2002 film Secretary – also stars in Hysteria, a story of how a disillusioned young doctor (Hugh Dancy) invented the vibrator in Victorian England.

The mom-of-two discovered the subject matter is still curiously taboo.

When I watched it, I was flushed and people in the audience were hysterically laughing,” she says. “And it came out of not being used to seeing stuff like that, and even I felt that way. And the first movie I made was an S&M movie. I do not think of myself as prudish at all. I’m interested in sex; I’m curious about it. I think of myself as pretty open. But I was surprised by my own response and the audience’s response, every time I’ve been around the movie or been interviewed about it, and how, kind of, uncomfortable it still makes us.”

Maggie goes on to say that doing international press for Hysteria sparked some interesting conversations.

“My favorite was where this woman asked me which did I think did more for women’s rights and the women’s movement: the vibrator or the dishwasher?” she says. “I think I have to go with the dishwasher.”


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  1. I think it’s probably a lot easier for celebs to live a relatively “normal” life in NYC than it is in LA. In many cases, the celebs just seem more down to earth — Oscar winners like Michael Douglas taking the subway is a case in point.

    What Maggie alluded to about paps following her child to school is downright creepy. Following and snapping a star is one thing, but stalking children and hanging around schools is WRONG. Most of us (hopefully) are only interested in pictures of children in the context of their parents and when they are with their parents.

  2. Oh Maggie, if you the paparazzi are brutal, you should get a load of some of the comments made by the cruel, inhuman, thoughtless hags that hang around this site.

    • inhuman really. Lol the comments here are child’s play compared to the ones on other sites. I read some on JJ where people make racist comments or say one poster said they hope the plain one celebrity mother and her child on would crash, others like comments on X17 are just racist and nasty for example one post said they wanted to kick one pregnant celebrity in the stomach. Like I said the comments here are a cake walk. This is why I stop read the comments on both sites.

      P.S since you hang around this site dose that make you a thoughtless hag too?

      • You might want to work on your reading comprehension. The “thoughtless hags” was obviously meant to refer only to the people who actually make all the cruel comments, not to everyone who comments here.

        • O I did read it and I got the meaning, I was making that statement becuase the poster or you wrote a nasty comment, Two wrongs don’t make a right.

      • For the most part, the comments here are pretty tame compared to other sites, but I have seen some that cross the bounds of good taste and what a reasonable person would deem to be acceptable — e.g. mocking children, racist remarks, etc.

        If the other Anonymous is talking about stuff like that, then she has a point. On the other hand, if she is talking about harmless remarks about nannies, clothing choices, etc. , then she needs to get a life, grow up and stop the name calling.

    • I know what you’re saying. And to the other poster, calling out someone has being a thoughtless hag does not make one a thoughtless hag. Ignore the other poster, Anonymous, becauce the women here SHOULD be ashamed of themselves sometimes. I know they won’t be, but they should.

      • Yes it dose calling someone a thoughtless hags dose not make you right for what you saying, just like the other poster are not right for their comments. Like someone eles said two wrongs don’t make a right and the name calling is just childless, they could have used another way to get their thought across.

        • Calling someone a bully doesn’t make you a bully.

          Retaliating against a bully also doesn’t make you a bully.

          Sometimes, people need to be called out for what they are.

      • The definition of hag is “unpleasant woman”. It’s pretty clear that there are MANY ‘hags’ on this site.

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