Jodie Foster is opening up about her long career and her somewhat complicated relationship with her mother. To say Foster didn’t have a conventional childhood would be putting it mildly.
Net-a-Porter interviewed Foster who explained that her acting career started at 3-years-old. She said she has traveled the world with her mother, sharing almost every moment.
“I was bred to be her partner. My whole life was with my mom, traveling on the road together, going to see French movies and German movies, talking about why they worked and why they didn’t. She made me do the things she couldn’t do well. It was an interesting relationship that was fraught – wonderful but painful, too.”
One does have to question a parent who allowed Jodie Foster to play a 12-year-old prostitute opposite Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, which sounds extreme even through a 2018 lens. Foster was her family’s breadwinner at the time she starred in Taxi Driver, and it’s obvious that she has thought about her upbringing a great deal. Roles were reversed and she felt responsible to provide and for her mother’s happiness.
“You operate on this primordial thing: ‘If [Mom] goes crazy, or is in a heap on the floor, or if she doesn’t have any money, she is going to leave me. That’s always having to get straight As, to be the best at everything, checking every single box, so my mom won’t leave me. I still feel that now, which is weird, because my mom has dementia, she is very down the path…”
Now as a parent herself, Foster is far more protective of her own children than her mother was of her, keeping them out of the spotlight (Charlie and Kit are now 19 and 16, respectively).
“I mean, there were just so many surprises about it. It’s been such a creative experience for me. That’s probably why I worked so little when the boys were [younger]. A day of putting together Lego and making up a song about peanut butter was as creative as I needed to be.”
Foster explains that she made an effort to hide her celebrity status from her boys while they were growing up, and felt guilty for any time Charlie spent on a movie set.
“I didn’t want them to know about my celebrity at all. I remember when my son was about four, he thought I was a construction worker.”
Jodie Foster says she is now very protective of her mental health and meditates daily. She says that removing herself from the fray is what separates her from the child actors who didn’t survive.
“[I prioritize] my self-worth and psychological HEALTH above all. If NOT, I don’t know where I would be today. I mean, there is a carpet of ex-CHILD actors who did not make it.”