Melissa McCarthy on Rex Reed: ‘I Felt Really Bad For Someone Swimming in So Much Hate’

Melissa McCarthy
Melissa McCarthy

Actress Melissa McCarthy is finally going on record about how she felt about an especially damning review that described her as "tractor sized." Though McCarthy is taking the high road, she's not leaving any room for us to wonder just how she feels.

In February, "Identity Thief," in which the "Bridesmaids" and "Mike & Molly" star took the lead for the first time on the big screen (opposite Jason Bateman), opened in theaters, and the reviews were tepid at best. But veteran critic Rex Reed decided to make it personal, calling McCarthy "cacophonous," "tractor-sized," and a "female hippo."

McCarthy diplomatically declined to comment on Reed's comments at the time, but in a new interview with the New York Times, she's opening up about the hurtful pan and what it says about its author.

When reporter Dave Itzkoff first brought up the subject, "[McCarthy]'s characteristically cheerful tone evaporated," and she said her initial reaction was "Really? Why would someone O.K. that?"

[Related: Melissa McCarthy's Skinny Makeover for 'The Heat' Poster Stirs Controversy]

Without mentioning Reed by name, McCarthy went on to say, "I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate. 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."

The confident and bubbly 42-year-old McCarthy said that if she'd received a review like that when she was 20, "it may have crushed me." She also said the article was an example of "a strange epidemic of body image and body dysmorphia" that's especially hurtful for younger women.

McCarthy said she believed remarks like Reed's "just add to all those younger girls, that are not in a place in their life where they can say, 'That doesn't reflect on me.' That makes it more true. It means you don't actually look good enough."

McCarthy was cut off from the subject when a fire alarm went off in the restaurant where the interview took place. McCarthy joked, "I imagine that's my publicist. The gods didn't want us discussing this."

Thankfully, McCarthy is having the last laugh in this controversy. Her TV series "Mike & Molly" is a hit. She has a new comedy opening in theaters June 28, "The Heat," in which she co-stars with Sandra Bullock and re-teams with "Bridesmaids" director Paul Feig.

McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone are currently shooting their passion project, "Tammy," with McCarthy and Falcone collaborating on the screenplay, Falcone directing, and McCarthy starring with Susan Sarandon and Dan Akyroyd.

If living well is the best revenge, Melissa McCarthy is more than getting even.

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