In a preview of Sunday’s episode of 60 Minutes, Lawrence, 27, opens up about her decision to forgo an education in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, for a career in Hollywood.
“I struggled through school. I never felt very smart,” says Lawrence, whose new spy thriller Red Sparrow (in theaters March 2) finds her playing a Russian intelligence officer who makes heartbreaking sacrifices at a young age. “And when I’m reading this script, and I feel like I know exactly what it would look like if somebody felt that way. That was a whole part of my brain that I didn’t even know existed — something that I could be confident in, and I didn’t want to let it go.”
“What was it you wanted so much?” asks CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker.
“It’s hard to explain. It’s just an overwhelming feeling of, ‘I get this. This is what I was meant to do,'” Lawrence says of acting. “And to get people to try to understand that when you’re 14 years old, wanting to drop out of school and do this, and your parents are just like, ‘You’re out of your mind.'”
But her parents listened to Lawrence’s instincts. “I dropped out of middle school. I don’t technically have a GED or a diploma,” she says with a smile. “I am self-educated.”
Whitaker asks if she regrets the decision. “No,” says Lawrence. “I really don’t. I wanted to forge my own path. I found what I wanted to do, and I didn’t want anything getting in the way of it. Even friends, for many years, were not as important to me as my career, I mean, from the age of 14.”
Always outspoken, Lawrence recently slammed disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein for mentioning her name as a defense in his legal battles as he faces the fallout over multiple sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him. “Harvey Weinstein and his company are continuing to do what they have always done which is to take things out of context and use them for their own benefit,” Lawrence said in a statement released Thursday. “This is what predators do, and it must stop.”
And on Wednesday, Lawrence lashed out at critics of her decision to wear a revealing Versace dress while promoting Red Sparrow in London, calling their comments “sexist” and “ridiculous.”
60 Minutes airs Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Watch a preview above.