Christina Ricci was 9 when she made her film debut in the 1990 coming-of-age movie “Mermaids.”
The child actor, known for playing characters with a dark edge, would go on to star in films including “The Addams Family,” and its sequel, and Halloween classic “Casper.”
Ricci has said she has no regrets about growing up surrounded by directors and producers. In a 2008 interview with Time, she described movie sets as being a “really positive place,” where she was “validated as having talent.” Ricci added that she also “felt very safe.”
But while speaking with TODAY Parents on Sept. 20, the 41-year-old “Yellowjackets” actor shared that “there were things that happened when I was younger that now sound totally crazy.”
Ricci recalled the dread she felt before a costume fitting.
“People would basically all get together and look at you and decide how to fix everything that was wrong with you,” she explained. “And I never enjoyed those days of everybody talking about my flaws.”
Ricci, who said she developed an eating disorder while going through puberty, recalled older men discussing her breasts in great detail.
“When I was 12 or 13 and started to have boobs, they would talk about how to make me look less womanly,” she said. “It made me really uncomfortable. I did not enjoy that.”
In Hollywood, “the production — the movie being made — is more important than any individual’s feelings,” Ricci said. “So they didn’t have to consider my feelings. That can be a big problem when you’re a kid.”
Ricci, who recovered from anorexia at 15, wants her 8-year-old son, Freddie, and 9-month-old daughter, Cleopatra “Cleo,” to have a healthy relationship with food.
“I don’t want any weirdness,” she said. “We eat for nutrition, we eat to grow, we eat to be healthy.” That’s the message she instills at home.
Ricci teaches both of her kids — but especially Cleopatra — that your biggest asset is your mind.
“I want her to focus on her brain and what she can contribute to society,” Ricci said. “Unless you’re going to make a career that is all based on your body, then why are we thinking so much about what we physically look like? That’s the biggest trick that’s ever been played on women. If we’re so preoccupied with our looks, we’ll never develop any of our talents.”
The Emmy-nominated star opened up to TODAY while promoting her partnership with raw, natural pet food brand Stella & Chewy’s. Ricci said she discovered the line while researching options for her rescue dog Karen, who she’s had for more than 12 years.
“She was starting to show her age a little bit and I do feel since feeding her better, that she’s younger and more active.”
Ricci and her hairstylist husband, Mark Hampton, with whom she shares Cleo, will celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary next month. Ricci was previously married to film producer James Heerdegen, father to Freddie.
“I really did luck out the second time around,” Ricci gushed. Her son Freddie, who is in third grade, is also glad Hampton joined their family.
“Mark spends most of his time scouring the internet for fun toys from the ’80s that aren’t being made any more,” Ricci said. “They play together, which is good because I’m not a player. I will cuddle, I will watch a movie, I will run errands with you — but I’m not a big player.”