While promoting the upcoming 'Midsummer Night's Dream,' she laughs at the gossip and dismisses it

By Liane Bonin
Updated April 26, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
Calista Flockhart
Credit: Mario Tursi

Her TV show has been accused of being antifeminist and anti-Catholic, and rumors continue that she’s suffering from anorexia. But, as Calista Flockhart nears the end of her second season as the star of ”Ally McBeal,” she has a new perspective on the poking and prodding of the media. ”At first, I took it personally,” she says. ”I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it. But now I’m certainly not shocked by anything they write, and I ignore mostly all of it.”

Flockhart, 34, who will star in the new film version of ”A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” even admits that she appreciates some of the headlines for what they are — entertainment: ”The most outrageous was the one that said that Webster, my dog, was also an anorexic. That is so clever, you have to admit. That’s the thing about the tabloids. They are what they are, and sometimes they are very funny and very clever.”

Flockhart has her own theories as to why she has Jay Leno working overtime to churn out skinny jokes — and why audiences want to hear it. ”We don’t really have one religion that everybody believes in,” she says. ”So we have these gods of idolatry that we make, celebrities. Then we want their dirty laundry. Because once we’ve made them gods, we want to humanize them so they’re more like us. People want to live vicariously through these rumors. I know I do.”

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