Jodie Foster Reveals the Painful Reason She Shuns Broadway


Jodie Foster, a name synonymous with acting excellence, boasts a career decorated with accolades, including two Academy Awards. Yet, despite her prowess and versatility in film, there is a particular aspect of the performing arts that she has steered clear of—Broadway. The reason, as Foster recently disclosed, is deeply personal and rooted in a traumatic period of her life.

At 61, Foster’s impressive portfolio spans various genres and roles, showcasing her remarkable range. However, her absence from theater roles has been conspicuous. In an intimate conversation with fellow actress Jodie Comer for Interview Magazine, Foster revealed the harrowing experience that led her to avoid the stage.

The incident traces back to Foster’s college years, during her initial and only foray into theater. The timing coincided with one of the most shocking events in American history: the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley Jr. on March 30, 1981. Foster recounted, “I’m finally able to admit that the one bit of theater I did when I was in college, there was so much trauma involved in it. Well, just quickly, the play happened in two weekends, and I did the first weekend, and in between the first weekend and the second weekend, John Hinckley shot the president.”

Hinckley’s obsession with Foster was widely publicized. He had been writing letters to her and, disturbingly, claimed that his attempt on Reagan’s life was meant to impress her. This bizarre and terrifying gesture thrust Foster into an unwanted spotlight, dramatically altering her life. “It was a long time ago. You probably don’t even know, but he shot him in order to impress me, and he had written letters to me, so it was a big moment in my life,” Foster explained to Comer, who is 30 years her junior. The aftermath saw Foster under constant surveillance, with bodyguards accompanying her everywhere.

Despite the intense trauma, Foster demonstrated remarkable resilience. Determined to fulfill her commitments, she returned to the stage for the play’s second weekend. However, the experience was marred by yet another frightening episode. Foster encountered a second stalker, who attended both performances of the closing weekend. “And then the next day, it was revealed that this particular guy had a gun, and he had brought it to the performance, and then he was on the run, and I was in a class, and the bodyguard guy came and threw me onto the ground while I was in the class, which was really embarrassing because there were only 10 people there,” she revealed.

The compounded trauma from these events left an indelible mark on Foster. The sheer terror and the constant threat to her safety during those formative years of her career understandably led to her aversion to theater. Foster’s decision to step back from Broadway wasn’t due to a lack of interest or ability, but rather a deeply ingrained need to protect herself from reliving those harrowing experiences. “I’ve never admitted that maybe that has something to do with how I never wanted to do a play again,” she confessed.

Jodie Foster’s story sheds light on the hidden struggles that even the most successful actors can face. Her choice to avoid the stage is a poignant reminder of the impact of personal trauma on professional decisions. It also underscores the importance of mental health and the need to address and acknowledge past traumas.

Despite this, Foster’s career has flourished. She has delivered iconic performances in films such as “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Taxi Driver,” and “Contact,” solidifying her legacy as one of the greatest actresses of her generation. Her work behind the camera, as a director and producer, has also garnered acclaim, showcasing her multifaceted talent.

Foster’s revelation provides a new layer of understanding to her illustrious career. It’s a testament to her strength and resilience, illustrating how she has navigated her path while dealing with deeply personal challenges. Her story is not just one of talent and success, but also of overcoming profound adversity.

In an industry where the show must go on, Foster’s choice to prioritize her well-being is both brave and inspiring. It opens up important conversations about the pressures faced by public figures and the often unseen battles they fight. As Foster continues to grace the screen with her talent, her candidness about her experiences adds depth to her public persona, reminding us that behind the accolades and the glamour, there are real human stories of struggle and perseverance.