Jared Leto recalls 'quite nice and lovely' friendship with Elizabeth Holmes before Theranos fraud was exposed

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Jared Leto recalls 'quite nice and lovely' friendship with Elizabeth Holmes before Theranos fraud was exposed
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Here's one storyline that wasn't in The Dropout

Jared Leto says he became a fan of Elizabeth Holmes after meeting and later keeping in touch with the disgraced entrepreneur in 2015. As he explained to Amanda Seyfried, who portrayed the Theranos founder in Hulu's miniseries, he first met Holmes when presenting her with Glamour's Woman of the Year award. Afterwards, he found himself drawn to the Silicon Valley sensation.

"I had heard her speak, before that, on stage. She was incredibly smart, and I met her after that. I liked her a lot," Leto said to Seyfried as part of Variety's Actors on Actors series. "She was really sweet, really kind, and no indication that things weren't great in her life and at the company. And then I gave her an award."

Leto added that he and Holmes remained friendly and noted that his experience with the fraudster served as a testament to human complexity.

"We stayed in touch after that and talked a few times," Leto said. "But my experience with her was always quite nice and lovely, and I think what's interesting about bringing a character to life — not everyone is one thing."

Seyfried and Leto were a natural pairing for the interview series, given that they both played disgraced real-world business icons this year. Leto has drawn positive notices for his turn as WeWork founder Adam Neumann in Apple's WeCrashed.

Elizabeth Holmes and Jared Leto
Elizabeth Holmes and Jared Leto

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Elizabeth Holmes and Jared Leto in 2015.

During the chat, Seyfried discussed her envy of Leto for having had the chance to meet Holmes, who she was not permitted to interact with while preparing for the production due to legal constraints.

"As an actor, I care about my character. I'm there with her," Seyfried said. "As much as I can be, as an actor — outside of her world, having nothing to do with her — I'm kind of in awe of anyone who's spent time with her because she'll always be far removed from me. Because we were not allowed to meet."

Seyfried also expressed her complex view of Holmes. "Not to say we're team Elizabeth, but I had to figure her out in a way, from such a place of passion and worthiness," Seyfried said. "We all should have a voice, especially when you only see one dimension of somebody."

The actress clarified that she wasn't defending Holmes, who was found guilty in January on four counts of defrauding investors.

"I know that whatever she'll be sentenced to, it's what she deserves. And, I also know, in my gut, that there's a space for her outside of this whole Theranos thing," she added. "Outside of prison, if she goes to prison, she'll spend her time there and then she'll get out and then she'll create something or invent something new that will work. I don't know if I'm the only person that feels that way, but it feels like there are a few of us, and I'd love to see her take responsibility in a very vocal way, which she has not."

Watch Leto and Seyfried's full discussion below.

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