Jamie Lee Curtis covers the May issue of More, on newsstands Tuesday, and inside she writes for the first time about her late mother, Janet Leigh, and her parents' split. Here are some excerpts.
On her mother's divorce from her father, Tony Curtis:
"By the time I came along, following my sister, Kelly, by two and a half years, my parents' bond had deteriorated precipitously as their stardom grew. And like any other save-the-marriage baby, I failed. Janet suffered public embarrassment as Tony chose a 17-year-old replacement, a German actress with whom he was working, and she felt the slings and arrows of tabloid gossip and innuendo. She told me that she did the memorable scene on the train in The Manchurian Candidate the day she found out that Tony had filed for divorce."
On her mother's body issues:
"I think the most complicated relationship my mother had, both loving and often cruel, was with her own body. Her face was undeniably beautiful, like a shot of something strong, and her body--that body was the chaser. She was intoxicating. Like anyone who becomes famous for what they look like, when that commodity starts to change, the relationship with it deteriorates. Her friends noted her slimness by calling her Bird Legs, and my mother was incredibly proud that she returned to her 20-inch waist mere weeks after pregnancies; she judged other actresses whose bodies grew and softened."
On her own unretouched shoot:
"Our dissatisfaction with what we look like has reached epidemic proportions. Just look around you: People don't look right. Lips, eyes, hair, weaves, implants. It is a freak show being fed by the business it generates, a modern-day Surgical Industrial Complex. I'm sure my appearing without the usual styling and makeup tricks in this magazine, in the 2002 article I titled 'True Thighs,' was my unconscious way of saving myself from the same fate. By acknowledging my own changing body, I rebelled against my mother's fear of it. I know the article and the attention it got were difficult for her."