In an interview for the March/April edition of Playboy magazine — which just restarted the policy of including nude photos — Scarlett Johansson, the actress best known for Lost In Translation (2003) and her role in the Avengers films, said she does not think monogamy is natural for human beings.
“I think the idea of marriage is very romantic; it’s a beautiful idea, and the practice of it can be a very beautiful thing. I don’t think that it’s natural to be a monogamous person,” Johansson told Playboy. The 32-year-old starlet recently separated from her second husband, Romain Dauriac, a journalist turned popcorn store owner.
The star noted that she might get attacked for expressing her opinion, but she defended it as true. “I might be skewered for that, but I think it’s work. It’s a lot of work,” Johansson added. “And the fact that it is such work for so many people — for everyone — the fact of that proves that it is not a natural thing.”
Johansson insisted that she wasn’t demeaning married couples at all. “It’s something I have a lot of respect for and have participated in, but I think it definitely goes against some instinct to look beyond.”
While Johansson is no longer married to Dauriac, they are still close. Her former husband, Ryan Reynolds, is by all accounts happily married to Blake Lively and has become a father of two. Interestingly, the starlet hinted a few years ago that her stardom being greater than Reynolds at the time of their marriage caused problems between them.
Johansson separated with her husband last summer, but she often spoke in the interview as though they were still together. She recalled that they both enjoyed living in New York City, after leaving Dauriac’s native Paris. “I had a baby, and also my husband was coming from another country and becoming a citizen of this country,” Johansson recalled. “I think my husband has embraced America, and New York in particular, in this really endearing way. He was making meatballs the other night, actually, I wasn’t home. I was away, and he sent me a picture. He was like, ‘I’m a real New Yorker, and I love The Sopranos!’ I was just, ‘You go, babe!'”
While Johansson said marriage is not natural, she described her relationship with her 2-year-old daughter, Rose, as profoundly impacting her life for the better.
Oh, it has changed me, yes. Just the process of being pregnant and giving birth was incredibly profound. Also surrendering to the fact that with babies, and particularly infants and toddlers, you have to let go of your expectations and of whatever instincts you have to take control of the situation. Of course, being a mother, you have to make decisions all the time that affect this person who is completely dependent on you, but you also have to surrender to the experience, and that in itself is really liberating.
“For me, it’s the best thing that has ever happened. Ever,” Johansson declared. “Somebody once described it to me as your heart growing this other chamber, and I think that’s really profoundly true. Your capacity to love something, at least in my experience, deepens to a whole other space. I think I was afraid that life would change, and it does; it dramatically changes. But I feel in a lot of ways more myself now than I did before.”
The actress even said that motherhood enabled her to care about her own happiness more. “I understand the importance of my own happiness now more than I did before,” Johansson added. “Because you see how it affects somebody else, and you’re kind of like, If I’m not happy, then I can’t be in tip-top shape for this other person.”
When it comes to balancing her work in Hollywood with raising a child, Johansson admitted that it is a struggle, and not just for her. “It’s a struggle for a lot of people, because we exist in this weird nomadic industry where almost everybody on a crew has a family, and it’s hard,” she said. “It’s hard on relationships; it’s hard on your partner, your kids, family in general, friends.”
Nevertheless, Johansson admitted that her situation affords her more flexibility than most. “I’m fortunately at a place in my career, after 20-whatever years, where I can dictate that a little bit,” she said. Nevertheless, she anticipated that “it will probably get more challenging as [Rose] gets older, once she’s in school and her life is more established in one place.”
In the Playboy interview, the actress also mentioned the election (she campaigned for Barack Obama twice and for Hillary Clinton in 2016). “It was a complete and utter shock,” Johansson said of Trump’s victory. “I had a very strange experience voting. I took my kid with me, and I was like, ‘Kid, we got a female president, which is pretty exciting. And it’s Hillary Clinton; that’s so cool, and we’re good.'”
“Then I got on a plane to Hong Kong, which is a 16-hour flight,” Johansson continued. “I had two glasses of wine and passed out. I woke up 10 hours later, and the stewardess was like, ‘Excuse me, Miss, would you like to know the election results?'” When the stewardess told her Trump had won, she thought it was a “Twilight Zone episode.”
The actress also mentioned her experience at the Women’s March on Washington, where she spoke in defense of Planned Parenthood. “I always took Planned Parenthood for granted growing up,” she said. “That’s how it should be, right? We are talking about normalizing what is by definition a normal thing: the accessibility of women’s health care. Everyone with a vagina needs it. Why are we still having these conversations so many years after we, as women, were supposedly ‘liberated’? I’m over it.”
For Scarlett Johansson, motherhood means more than marriage, Clinton would have been a reason to celebrate, and Trump’s presidency is a Twilight Zone episode. At least on the last one, there’s quite a bit of room for agreement.