The First Cut

Stars specialize in thin skin, but nothing critics say can wound like the cutting remarks they endured back in their schoolyard days.


CAMERON DIAZ: "I was extremely, extremely skinny as a child--for years I was 79 pounds and much taller than everyone else. When I was in junior high school people thought I was sick and they used to call me 'Bones,' 'Skeletor,' 'Skinny Bones Jones' and all those other horrible names. I used to get into fights because I had to prove if they pissed me off I was going to kick their ass. My best girlfriend's mother told me years later she used to look at me and think, 'That poor, poor child. What is she ever going to be able to do? She's so frail.'"

ANGELINA JOLIE: "When I tried to model at the age of 14, I was told to drop some weight. But all I had was a little baby fat, for God's sake. I'm sure that when I got the lead role in Gia, all of those model people who had rejected me thought, 'Why her? My God, we hate her.'"

WHITNEY HOUSTON: "When I was in high school, girls would chase me home and try to beat me up. One day as I was running up the front steps of my house, my mother met me at the door. She had a belt in her hand and said to me, 'Stop and turn around.' Then she turned to the girls chasing me and yelled, 'I want the baddest one of you to come here, because Whitney is going to fight you today.' They just looked at my mom then said, 'Well, never mind.' Now when I see those girls in my old New Jersey neighborhood, they act like they were my best friends."

ASHLEY JUDD: "I wasn't picked on. Before my mom started singing professionally, she was a nurse, and always working. So my sister Wynonna and I would be able to throw these great parties after school--we'd move the furniture outside and create a dance floor. When my mom came home the boys would sneak out through the back of the house and all the girls would say they were helping me spring clean. So everybody thought I was cool."

JON BON JOVI: "I wasn't a normal teenager and I didn't hang out with the gang. Instead, I'd hang out at bars, and at 15 I started playing in them. At school the kids would ask, 'What did you do last night? I watched Dallas.' I'd say, 'Me and Southside Johnny and Bruce Springsteen were playing at the Stone Pony.' Everybody thought I was a strange kid."

CALISTA FLOCKHART: "I have always been really small. I went through a period around the fourth grade where I couldn't find jeans that fit. If they fit in the length they didn't fit in the waist so I would buy them to fit in the length because I certainly wasn't going to wear floods. But then they'd just hang down like big bell-bottoms."

JENNIFER TILLY: "Oh, everything. I was the most unpopular little kid. We didn't have much money so I was very malnourished and would get made fun of because I was too skinny. And I was very flat-chested so they'd say, 'Oh, Jennifer, she's like a pirate's dream. She's got a sunken chest. Ha ha ha.' And I was excruciatingly shy. I would hug the walls when I walked down the halls. On top of that, my mom was a hippie and me and my siblings had to eat health food all the time. We were so embarrassed because all the other kids had white fluffy Wonder bread sandwiches while we had our whole grain bread--the kids would make fun of us because the bread was brown. More than anything I wanted to be like The Brady Bunch. Now I realize that there's no family like that."

**RENE RUSSO: **"When I was a teenager I had to wear a body cast for four years because I had scoliosis, which is a curvature of the back. My cast went from my neck to my knees. I'd try to hide it by putting a bra on top of the cast, but my arms and legs were so skinny it looked weird no matter what I did. Needless to say, I couldn't get any dates."

MIKE MYERS: "When I was 10 years old I was in a commercial with Gilda Radner, who played my mom. I loved Gilda so much that I cried when it was over. All through my teen years I'd watch Gilda on Saturday Night Live so when she came on my brothers would torment me by saying, 'Mike, your girlfriend is on TV.' Then I'd yell back, 'Someday I'll be on that show!' Everyone laughed at me."

NOAH WYLE: "Everyone called me 'the Quaalude Kid.' Why? Because I was tall, but really slow, so when I'd run to bases in baseball it would take me forever. It was hard because I was always into sports, but I wasn't a jock."

JULIANNA MARGULIES: "I was always teased for my fat head and my big lips. My face is very round now, but it was much rounder as a child. I used to be called 'Flounder Mouth' because my lips were bigger than other people's. I used to cry about it."

ROSE McGOWAN: "I grew breasts at an early age. It was a hard time for me because it seemed like they grew overnight and all of a sudden I was treated differently. I started to get a lot of attention--just imagine walking down the street and all of a sudden every guy is screaming, hooting and hollering at you. On top of that, my father was very freaked out about my impending womanhood. He equated large breasts with being a whore. It was a really unfriendly time for me."

DAVID SCHWIMMER: "I was a loser. I went to Beverly Hills High School, where all the students were popular, good looking and physically developed, and all had BMWs. And then there was me. The skinny guy with the 1976 dirt-brown Monte Carlo. It wasn't exactly the stud machine."

TORI SPELLING: "I got picked on for being rich. 'Oh look, it's Daddy's little rich girl.' People don't realize how much it hurt me."

JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT: "I don't know why, but kids just thought I was some freak. Every day at lunch I would sit at a tree all by myself and eat my package of Doritos. Hardly anybody would talk to me and the people that did talk to me were the guys because I wasn't a real girly girl. I was more of a tomboy."

MILLA JOVOVICH: "I was born in Russia, but moved to the States when I was very young. Although I spoke English well, I had an accent and was treated as the weird Russian kid. I didn't have that many friends at school, but when I did finally make friends, it was with the outcasts because I could relate to them."

MATTHEW BRODERICK: "Stupid as it sounds, I had shaky hands. In school, kids would make fun of me, especially in drawing class. They'd say, 'Hey, Shaky! Catch, Shaky!' My hands still shake a little bit, but not much."

ROBIN WILLIAMS: "I was short, fat, hairy and had pasty white skin. Kids used to call me 'Dwarf or 'Leprechaun.' Oh, it was a happy time--loads of fun."

PETER BERG: "In prep school I was teased because I didn't know the right words to Grateful Dead songs and I didn't know how to take a bong hit without coughing. I'd let smoke out, which would float around the dorm rooms and teachers could smell it. I eventually taught myself how to take massive bong hits without coughing till the point where I could smoke huge monster hits. I also eventually learned every Dead song by heart. Then I really starting hating pot and later gave it up. I still like the Dead, though."

KIMBERLY WILLIAMS: "I wasn't very popular. When I was a high-school freshman, I invited the most popular girl over to my house, but it didn't go over too well. I'm sure she expected us to do something really exciting, but all I wanted to do was listen to records. So I played my favorite 45s, like Phil Collins. I even pretended to be a DJ. She was like, 'Get me out of here!' I never had a popular friend again."

DERMOT MULRONEY: "My name. It's been baffling people for decades now. It's still sort of baffling. After I say Dermot, people look at me funny and say, 'Did you say Kermit? Or Hermit?' Once someone mistook my name for Spermit and I thought, 'That's it--maybe I should change my name.'"

CHARLIZE THERON: "I would get so teased for my love of singing. For some reason, I just loved to sing and I would beg my teachers to give me just five minutes so that I could sing for the whole class. My mom knew I loved music so she bought me a little guitar, but I didn't know how to play it so I just stroked the strings."

LINDA HAMILTON: "I was teased about my body because I was really overweight. When I was a teenager I constantly struggled to slim down. When I finally did, I felt great and my life changed for the better."

ROSIE PEREZ: "What else? For the way I speak. I had a speech impediment and my voice was even shriekier than it is now, if you can imagine. People don't realize how hard I've worked to lower my octave. Other than that, I got teased because my body developed very quickly. So by the fifth grade I was wearing a 34C bra, but I was only four-foot-nine. I looked like this midget with tits and ass. It was so humiliating because the boys used to make fun of me. In the seventh grade there was this one kid who used to run down the hallway after me and grab my breasts so hard, it hurt. Then he'd make a honking noise. I started to hate my breasts because of it."

CASPER VAN DIEN: "I was made fun of for being a pretty boy and being little. Thank God I grew a full inch when I was 20 and another full inch when I was 21. Before that, when I'd ask out a girl, she would always say to me, 'Oh, you're so cute and sweet, but we're just really good friends, right?' I'd think, 'Shit!'"