When New York Observer film critic Rex Reed called Melissa McCarthy a "tractor-sized" "female hippo" in his February review of "Identity Thief", just about everyone had something to say about it.
Everyone, that is, except for Melissa McCarthy. Until now.
The 42-year-old mom of two daughters finally revealed her initial reaction to Reed's remarks, in an interview with the New York Time's Dave Itzkoff, was one of surprise.
"Really?" she said, recounting her thought at the time. "Why would someone OK that?"
McCarthy said she's fortunate now to be healthy and happy enough in her own life only to feel pity for someone who would insult another that way.
“I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate," she said. "I just thought, that’s someone who’s in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs.”
But "The Heat" star admits she wasn't always so self-confident, that if someone had made those comments when she was 20, "it may have crushed me."
Raising two young girls has made a healthy approach to appearance even more important, McCarthy said.
In today's "strange epidemic of body image and body dysmorphia," articles like Reeds do more damage to younger girls who "are not in a place in their life where they can say, 'That doesn't reflect on me.'"
With her career on a hot streak, McCarthy can afford to take the high road. But even if her clout dries up, the actress says she's prepared.
"I've been trying to play old-lady parts since I was in my 20s," she said, "so I look forward to that."