Natalie Portman apologizes for Wailing Wall smooch. She blames an oversight for the error of filming a kissing scene near Jerusalem's Wailing Wall, leading outraged worshipers to chase her and her costar from the premises

By Gary Susman
Updated March 01, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
Credit: Natalie Portman: Carlo Allegri/Getty

We’re not sure if any of the orthodox Jews who oversee Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall watch Access Hollywood, but if they do, they would have seen Natalie Portman apologize on Sunday for profaning Judaism’s holiest shrine last week. Of course, the Oscar-nominated actress waited until she was thousands of miles away, at Hollywood’s holiest shrine, to issue her apology. ”I really don’t want to offend anyone’s beliefs or impose anything on anyone and it was mistaken to do it,” the Closer star said at the Kodak Theatre, where she lost the Best Supporting Actress award to The Aviator‘s Cate Blanchett.

The Israeli-born actress has been living in her homeland for the past few months, taking classes at Hebrew University and shooting the film Free Zone for veteran Israeli director Amos Gitai. Last week, she and costar Aki Avni were filming a kissing scene in a parking lot by the Wall, the last remnant of the second Biblical Temple, where separation of men and women is strictly enforced, and where casual physical contact between the sexes is prohibited. Police had to intervene as angry, chanting worshipers chased the actors and filmmakers away.

Talking to Access Hollywood, Portman chalked the incident up to a mere oversight: ”As soon as it offended people, we moved,” she said. ”We had a very hectic work schedule, so we weren’t thinking. We shouldn’t have done it.” Now, if only she’d apologize for the last two Star Wars movies.