Sienna Miller
Credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage

Why did Sienna Miller fall off Hollywood’s radar shortly after the 2009 release of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra? The answer’s simple, according to Miller herself: “I sabotaged things,” she says. “I burnt a lot of bridges.”

There’s more blunt honesty where that came from in Miller’s big Esquire UK interview, the magazine’s latest cover story. (And yes, the article also includes a very tasteful, black-and-white topless photoshoot.)

In between a fair amount of purple prose (“[we] talked to each other, and at each other, and occasionally over each other about feminism and social media and the press and public morality and twerking, obviously…Some of this into my voice recorder, some of it into the wind”), Miller gives a lot of insight into her rocky career, which started to slump when her private life became more interesting than her professional life — and Miller freely admits that she’s got nobody to blame for that but herself. (Although according to interviewer Alex Bilmes, Miller does concede “that she certainly wouldn’t have been treated in this way were she a man.” Maybe there’s a Katherine Heigl comparison to be made here?)

The trouble began when 2004’s Alfie remake was released — and 22-year-old Miller suddenly skyrocketed to fame, due to her roles as both the film’s costar and Jude Law’s girlfriend. “I was really naive,” she recalls to Bilmes. “Not green as grass — I was by no means an innocent — but I had faith in the goodness of everyone. I was very open. And that led me into all sorts of situations that backfired.”

Namely, Miller never really learned how to play the PR game: “I was English. I was, ‘Let’s be who we are! I’m not going to have my hair done every morning and yes: I smell of fags!’ And so I would walk into studio heads’ offices and we’d crack up laughing.” And while she claims that she was always “totally professional” on movie sets, offset, the actress “had no business sense whatsoever”: “I never read a review or paid any mind to what anyone said,” Miller admits. She also ruffled feathers with her off-the-cuff remarks, as when she memorably called Pennsylvania’s second-largest city “Sh–sburgh.”

And of course, she got caught in one tabloid scandal after another, first due to her tumultuous relationship with Law and later when she had an affair with the married actor Balthazar Getty. As a result, Miller says roles dried up — because “people don’t want to see films with people they don’t approve of in them.” (You know, unless they’re men.) So Miller “deliberately disappeared” from the spotlight, and from the nasty reputation she’d developed. “I was sick of myself, to be honest, or sick of that perception of me,” she says. “It all felt so f—ing dirty.”

Since Miller’s now doing a huge confessional interview in a big glossy magazine, it’s safe to say that things are looking up for her. After the disaster that was G.I. Joe, she found refuge on the stage and with a well-received turn as Tippi Hedren in the 2012 TV movie The Girl. Two years later, Miller is staging something of a film comeback with roles in three movies, including the Vince Vaughn comedy Business Trip (which… maybe she shouldn’t get too excited about) and the true crime drama Foxcatcher (which was originally set to open Dec. 20 but has been pushed to an unspecified date this year). Her personal life, too, is finally stable: Miller and fiance Tom Sturridge welcomed their first daughter in July 2012.

And maybe most importantly, the tumult of the past 10 years has helped Miller understand what really matters — or, more specifically, what doesn’t. (Hint: Everything.) Take it away, Sienna:

“When you’re in some massive crisis and you look at yourself in a close-up and then if you visualize pulling back and seeing England and then pulling back and seeing the world, you realize how f—ing insignificant you are. I think that’s really the greatest thing I’ve learned recently: that I don’t matter. Nothing matters. It’s such a relief to know that. I didn’t get that job – it doesn’t f—ing matter. Whatever I achieve, or don’t, will be forgotten, it’s not important.”

Read the full interview at Esquire UK.