“I have done things that I regret”: Courteney Cox on sexism and ageing

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Kayleigh Dray

It is no secret that women in the public eye are under an enormous amount of pressure to look a certain way.

From speculation about pregnancy to plastic surgery, it’s no wonder, then, that many feel forced to succumb to extreme methods to stay looking ‘picture perfect’.

And now, during an appearance on Running Wild With Bear Grylls, Courteney Cox has addressed what it’s really like to grow up under the glare of the spotlight.

Sitting on a mountainside, the Friends star told Grylls: “Being a woman in this industry is difficult, and getting older is not the easiest thing. But I have learned lessons.”

Cox went on to address her previous use of cosmetic procedures, explaining: “I was trying to keep up with getting older and trying to chase that. It's something you can't keep up with. The more you relax with it and the less you try...

“Sometimes you find yourself trying and then you look at a picture of yourself and you go ‘oh god, I look horrible.’”

The 52-year-old continued: “I have done things that I regret and luckily there are things that dissolve and go away. So that's good because it's not always been my best look.

“Now I have a new motto; let it be.”

Despite the pressures that come with working in the industry, however, Cox added that she wouldn't change a thing about becoming famous. 

“I don't feel burdened by it, but people can be mean on social media.”

Grylls, moved by Cox’s honesty, praised her for opening up about the issues so many women face on a daily basis.

“The natural you is amazing,” he added. “And there’s light in your eyes.”

It is not the first time a Friends star has addressed the overwhelming pressures faced by female celebrities to look a certain way.

Earlier this year, Jennifer Aniston penned a blistering op-ed after she found herself the subject of tabloid speculation once again.

“For the record, I am not pregnant,” she wrote in the Huffington Post essay. “What I am is fed up.”

She continued: “The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing.

“The way I am portrayed by the media is simply a reflection of how we see and portray women in general, measured against some warped standard of beauty… [it is a] dehumanising view of females, focused solely on one’s physical appearance.”

Jennifer Aniston

“The objectification and scrutiny we put women through is absurd and disturbing."

And, just weeks after Aniston’s essay was published, Bridget Jones’ Diary star Renee Zellweger also decided it was time to fight back against tabloid rumours about her own appearance.

“Not that it’s anyone’s business, but I did not make a decision to alter my face and have surgery on my eyes,” the Oscar-winning actress said.

Zellweger continued: “It’s no secret a woman’s worth has historically been measured by her appearance.

“We have evolved to acknowledge the importance of female participation in determining the success of society, and take for granted that women are standard bearers in all realms of high profile position and influence.

"[But] the double standard used to diminish our contributions remains, and is perpetuated by the negative conversation which enters our consciousness every day as snark entertainment.”

Renee Zellweger

“It’s no secret a woman’s worth has historically been measured by her appearance"

With so many women in the public eye choosing to speak up on the sexist double standards of the public spotlight and tabloid scrutiny, we can only hope that the narrative will be changed soon.

You can watch Courtney Cox in Running Wild With Bear Grylls when it airs at 9pm on the Discovery Channel on 31 August.


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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