Natalie Portman gives moving commencement speech at Harvard

By Sarah Kelsey

Natalie Portman's time at Harvard wasn’t as rosy as we once thought. The 33-year-old gave a moving commencement speech to the students at her alma mater on Wednesday (May 27), in which she opened up about about the insecurities she had while on campus.

"When I got to Harvard just after the release of Star Wars: Episode 1, I feared people would assume I had gotten in just for being famous, and not worthy of the intellectual rigour here," she said, "[that] I wasn't smart enough to be in this company, that every time I opened my mouth, I would have to prove that I wasn't just a dumb actress."

The mother of one even admits she suffered from bouts of depression.

Natalie spoke candidly about her experience at Harvard. Photo: © Getty Images

"It's easy to romanticize my time here, but I had some difficult times here... Being 19, dealing with my first heartbreak, taking birth control that's now off the market due to its depressive side effects. There were several occasions I started crying in meetings with professors, overwhelmed with what I was supposed to pull off, when I could barely get myself out of bed in the morning."

Ultimately, her time at Harvard helped her figure out what she wanted to do and solidified her desire to act. She even turned her difficult experiences while at the Ivy League school into a life lesson on stepping outside of her comfort zone, which ended up giving her the strength she needed to film Black Swan.

Natalie took home an Oscar for her performance in Black Swan. Photo: © Getty Images

“The point is, if I had known my own limitations, I never would have taken the risk. And the risk led to one of my greatest personal and professional achievements." Not only did Natalie take home an Oscar for her portrayal of a tortured ballerina, but she also met her husband, Benjamin Millepied, on set.

Read more: Natalie Portman and husband Benjamin Millepied enjoy a glamorous date night in Paris

This year is set to be a busy one for the young star. Not only was her directorial debut, in which she also stars, A Tale of Love and Darkness, screened at Cannes, but she’s also set to appear in three additional releases: Knight of Cups, Jane Got a Gun and Weightless.

Watch the entire commencement speech below.

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