When Natalie Portman was 13, men were counting down the days until she could legally have sex.

Another day, another instalment of what the actual f**k?

Because we have discovered that, in the lead-up to Natalie Portman’s 18th birthday, there was an actual countdown to when she would reach the legal age of consent.

Now just let that sink in for a second.

Watch: People are comparing Millie Bobby Brown to a young Natalie Portman. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

By 1999, when now 41-year-old Portman was preparing to celebrate her 18th birthday, she’d been in the public eye for five years – ever since her first film, Léon: The Professional, in which she was first sexualised

As a 13-year-old child.

Portman played Mathilde, who was taken in by a hitman after the death of her family. It was a character the actress later described as a “Lolita figure”. 

Then the rape threats began. 

“I was so excited at 13 when the film was released, and my work and my art would have a human response,’ she said at the 2018 Women’s March in Los Angeles.


“I excitedly opened my first fan mail to read a rape fantasy that a man had written me.”

She went on to add that it only got worse as she moved through her teens and played more sexually charged roles. In the 1996 film Beautiful Girls, the then-15-year-old played Marty, a 13-year-old who develops a relationship with an adult man.

“A countdown was started on my local radio show to my 18th birthday – euphemistically the date that I would be legal to sleep with,” she said.  

“Movie reviewers talked about my budding breasts in reviews.”

While Léon: The Professional had made Portman a star, playing such a sexualised role had serious implications.

“It took away from my own sexuality because it made me afraid, and it made me [feel] like the way I could be safe was to be like, ‘I’m conservative’ and ‘I’m serious and you should respect me’ and ‘I’m smart’ and ‘Don’t look at me that way,’” she said in the Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepard.

"But at that age, you do have your own sexuality, and you do have your own desire, and you do want to explore things, and you do want to be open. But you don't feel safe, necessarily, when there's, like, older men that are interested, and you're like, 'No, no, no, no.'"

Portman, now a mum of two, called it “sexual terrorism” in her Women’s March speech.


“At 13 years old, the message from our culture was clear to me,” she said. “I felt the need to cover my body and to inhibit my expression and my work in order to send my own message to the world. That I’m someone worthy of safety and respect.”

Sadly, Portman isn’t the only star to have been targeted with a 'countdown clock'. Britney Spears, Hilary Duff and the Olsen twins received the same treatment, and shockingly, Mary Kate and Ashley’s still exists to this day. 

Listen to the hosts of Mamamia Out Loud talk about how Natalie Portman joined some other big-name celebs to perform a cover of 'Imagine' by The Beatles.

“These two hotties will be Playboy legal in: – days, – hours – mins and – secs,” the website still reads.

I want to be able to say thank God society has moved on since 1999, when Portman was targeted, but it was only last year that several of these gross 'countdowns' popped up in online forums in the lead-up to Millie Bobby Brown’s 18th birthday.

One Reddit thread even proclaimed to be “dedicated to sexual pictures of Millie”.

Society still has a long, long way to go.

Image: Getty + Gaumont Les Films du Dauphin + Mamamia.

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