Opening up in her most candid and revealing interview in years, Megan Fox speaks to GLAMOUR’s Emily Maddick about sexism, being a sex symbol, her psychological breakdown, the pressures of parenting, her feminist revival and rejection – and passionate blood-drinking rituals with her fiancé, Machine Gun Kelly…
Megan Fox is having a moment. This much we all know. Every red carpet she steps on, every Kardashian she steps out with and every outfit she wears is analysed, idolised, or meme-ified, generating headlines on a near-daily basis. Despite not having an account herself, she’s celebrated as a goddess on TikTok for her wit, style and unapologetic honesty. And then, of course, there’s her equally unapologetic, PDA-packing, internet-breaking romance and exceedingly extra engagement – complete with claims of mutual blood-drinking – with rapper and actor Machine Gun Kelly.
But Megan has not always been as celebrated, appreciated or – crucially – understood.
Her rise to fame in the early Noughties saw her emerge as an almost cartoon-like sex symbol whose pin-up, all-American good looks garnered her a reputation for some roles that seemed solely to serve the male gaze. And the public and the media treated her accordingly. I, too, was guilty of underestimating Megan Fox in the past, buying into the sex-symbol narrative and not taking her seriously enough. But no longer.
Because, as I learn, Megan has always been outspoken – radically so – intelligent, boundary-breaking and feminist. And in 2009, the same year she filmed Diablo Cody’s cult horror movie, Jennifer’s Body, she spoke out in the media about being relentlessly sexualised and enduring what she called some “genuinely harrowing experiences in a ruthlessly misogynistic industry.”
“I think that I was ahead of the #MeToo movement by almost a decade,” she tells me today. “I was always speaking out against some of the abusive, misogynistic, patriarchal things that were going on in Hollywood back in 2008 and 2009, way before people were ready to embrace that or tolerate it. And I actually got ridiculed for doing it. I think people just have had time to review that, in retrospect.”
One of her first experiences in Hollywood was a small part in Bad Boys II, released in 2003, where she had to dance in a bikini, cowboy hat and high heels under a waterfall. She was just 15.
Footage from an excruciating 2009 interview with Jimmy Kimmel – which has come to encapsulate the treatment Megan endured – about it recently resurfaced and went viral.
In it, Megan relays that she was too young to appear in a bar scene, so the ‘high-heel waterfall’ scenario was the director Michael Bay’s solution, to which Kimmel laughs and says, “Perfectly wholesome.” Megan continues, “At 15, I was in tenth grade. So that’s a sort of a microcosm of how Bay’s mind works.” Kimmel replies to canned studio laughter: “Yeah, well, that’s really a microcosm of how all our minds work, but some of us have the decency to repress those thoughts and pretend that they don’t exist.” It makes for uncomfortable viewing now.
“I WAS AHEAD OF THE #METOO MOVEMENT BY ALMOST A DECADE. I WAS SPEAKING OUT AGAINST SOME OF THE ABUSIVE, MISOGYNISTIC, PATRIARCHAL THINGS THAT WERE GOING ON IN HOLLYWOOD BACK IN 2008 AND 2009.”
When she worked with the director again on Transformers, she claimed he demanded she gain 10lb for the part and she called him a “nightmare to work for.” In response, an open letter written by three anonymous Transformers crew members was then widely reported, in which they described Megan as “Ms Sourpants,” branded her unprofessional and a “bitch,” and suggested she should be a pornstar in the future. It gave her a reputation as being difficult to work with.
While Megan has since reconciled with Bay – and worked with him again in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise – she’s continued to speak out about her experiences of misogyny in general, before suffering a “psychological breakdown” and retreating from the limelight due to the wide-scale objectification from the media, industry and the internet.
“I wasn’t allowed to be a human, because I was a topic of conversation and gossip and punch lines,” she tells me.
While she still accepted a few roles, her public appearances dried up, “I was essentially in hiding for several years of my life” she says. But now she’s reemerged in a post-#MeToo landscape, her status and career revised and reevaluated, and heralded as a feminist icon – although, as she tells me, not by everybody.
And this – I believe – is the most interesting and important reason Megan Fox is having a moment right now.
We meet in a photography studio in Burbank, Los Angeles, on a sunny spring Sunday on the morning of the GLAMOUR cover shoot. Megan drives herself to set (she doesn’t like sitting in the back of cars) in her custom Range Rover, having spent the first half of the morning tending to weekend activities with her three children, Noah, nine, Bodhi, eight, and Journey, five, who she shares with her ex-husband, OG Beverly Hills 90210 actor, Brian Austin Green.
She is a petite 5ft 4in and is dressed entirely in pink, from a baseball cap to tracksuit to Louis Vuitton handbag, arriving with a small entourage including her close friend, the Hollywood super-stylist, Maeve Reilly (who also works with Hailey Bieber and the Kardashians), who styled this fantastical cover shoot.
From the off, Megan is friendly, easy-going and fun, making everyone feel at ease as she orders gluten-free toast with jam for breakfast. During the course of our hour-long conversation, she is warm and delivers unfettered honesty, which at one point leads to her breaking down in tears as she opens up about a particularly sensitive issue surrounding her eldest child, Noah. The emotion is raw and she leaves everyone in the room moved (more on this later.)
As she acknowledges at the end of the interview, hers is undoubtedly one of the most ‘unfiltered’ of all GLAMOUR’s Unfiltered interviews to date, joking afterwards, “You might need to actually filter it!”
I start by asking her why she thinks her career – which has included recent thrillers Midnight In The Switchgrass (where she met Machine Gun Kelly), Till Death and Johnny & Clyde, dark comedies Big Gold Brick and Good Mourning (written and directed by her fiancé) and forthcoming action film The Expendables 4 – is having a renaissance right now?
“I think the first time around, when I was dealing with astronomical levels of fame, that in itself is a type of trauma… And if you don’t have a big family or a big support system, it’s easy to become very overwhelmed or get lost in that,” she says. “And if you’re delicate at all, it’s a hard thing to go through. So, I shut down a lot and retreated from everything… I’m so much better equipped now to deal with it and to experience it in a way where I can actually enjoy some of it and not be so self-conscious and afraid all the time.”
Born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Megan Denise Fox was raised with her elder sister, Kristi, by her religious mother and stepfather as a Pentecostal Christian before attending a Catholic High school. She started modelling at the age of 13, winning local modelling contests, before landing her first TV show, Holiday In The Sun in 2001 at the age of 15, starring alongside Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. This was followed by her breakout feature film, Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen in 2004 with Lindsay Lohan. Then came a flurry of roles, fame, attention and criticism, before she retreated saying she wanted to do something “legitimate.”
While her career didn’t entirely dry up in the past decade – most notably she had a recurring role on the TV show New Girl alongside Zooey Deschanel from 2016 to 2017 – she deliberately kept herself out of public life, focusing on her family and also navigating the end of her on/off, 15-year relationship with Brian Austin Green, whom she split from in 2019.
I ask her about that difficult period and subsequent breakdown; how she coped with the endless gossip, ridicule and most pertinently, sexual objectification.
“I don’t know if the psychological breakdown was strictly related to being objectified, it was more related to just being dehumanised and criticised and judged constantly,” she reflects.
“When so many people around the world are thinking about you or have negative thoughts or intentions towards you, that energy permeates and penetrates me. I don’t have boundaries and walls for that. I’m still human. I am still fragile in that way, I can feel. And that was part of the struggle.”
IT’S VERY BIZARRE TO GET JUDGED FOR, LIKE, ‘WHAT IF I AM IN A BDSM RELATIONSHIP? AND I’M LIKE, YES – IS THAT OK WITH YOU? BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT I WANT.
“I don’t think people understand that we’ve come to this place where we grasp, ‘Bullying is bad. Children shouldn’t be bullied. It leads to self-hate. And eventually in some cases leads to suicide.’ But then when it comes to a celebrity, all of that is thrown out the window and people spend so much of their time bullying celebrities.”
She shares her opinion of social media’s role in this. “I have social media, but I don’t personally use it. I have somebody who posts for me and I decide what I want to say,” she tells me, adding, “but I think it’s sinister. I think it’s evil.”
Megan identifies as a feminist but has also had a complicated relationship with feminism as she feels she was – and still is – rejected by some sectors of the community. Despite starring in what is now being viewed as a cult classic with feminist themes, Jennifer’s Body (cheerleader gets possessed with the devil and goes on a rampage eating all the teenage boys who try to sleep with her) was initially panned; the film’s central themes of female empowerment were ignored and Megan’s performance as Jennifer misunderstood.
“I’ve never felt completely included in the feminist community and I do still think that it’s tricky in an awful way,” she tells me. “Whatever I provoke in them is not something that they can digest very well. And so that comes back on me, as they reject me for those reasons. And I just don’t think that I was a very sympathetic victim.”
She’s referring to her ability to be playful with her own image as a sex symbol and her penchant for being outspoken. “Me just being free and having fun with how I am and my personality is very provocative for people,” she says. “I trigger the people who I trigger. That is something that I, as a famous person, do. That is my purpose in a lot of ways,” she states.
Her early career was littered with soundbites, such as, “I have the libido of a 15-year-old boy”, “Men are terrified of vaginas”, “I don’t have a special vagina” and “actors are either narcissistic douchebags or raging alcoholics.”
Does she ever regret anything she’s said?
“The regret I have is that my personality is so lost on people, my sense of humour is lost. My intelligence is not acknowledged. And so that is a regret. Sometimes I feel like I just waste my energy, giving myself to people who don’t understand and won’t appreciate [me], but I’ve never had anything where I look back now and think, ‘I really shouldn’t have said that’ Because even the terrible things caused me to do so much work on myself, that I grew exponentially, because of it.”
And while she acknowledges that there has been a revision in attitude towards her since the #MeToo movement of 2017, she claims that in many ways she still battles with rejection.
ALLOWING WOMEN TO BE… WOMEN. ALLOWING US TO EXPERIENCE WHAT WE WANT IN LIFE, WHAT WE LIKE. THAT IS FEMINISM.
“[It seems] I have to meet a certain requirement or follow all of these rules,” she says. “It’s very bizarre to get judged for, like, ‘What if I am in a BDSM relationship? And I’m like, yes – is that OK with you? Because that’s what I want.’ So, I shouldn’t be outcast from the feminist community, because that is something that I prefer for myself. I feel sexual power in that way, by experiencing it that way.” She seems genuinely exasperated.
“I was being celebrated as being a feminist until I had the nerve to call my boyfriend, ‘Daddy,’’’ she says sarcastically. “And a lot of people got upset about that, which I think is a funny conversation to actually have, because that goes into allowing women to be… women. Allowing us to experience what we want in life, what we like. That is feminism.”
The boyfriend she is referring to is, of course, 32-year-old Colson Baker, the rapper, musician, actor, director and recent founder of his own gender-neutral nail polish line, AKA Machine Gun Kelly (MGK). The incident she’s referring to was when she chose to wear a sheer Mugler dress to the MTV VMAs last September – one of her internet-breaking moments. On the red carpet Megan drolly told reporters that MGK had told her what (not) to wear that night. “[He] was like, ‘You’re gonna be naked tonight.’ I was like, ‘Whatever you say, daddy!’” she said at the time. This caused a social media pile on, with many decrying her provocative comment.
The couple have been dating since September 2020 and live together in the family-friendly LA neighbourhood of Sherman Oaks.
Their love has become the stuff of zeitgeist-capturing, era-defining, rock’n’roll legend. Heralded even by broadsheet newspapers as making celebrity romance “cool again,” they’ve been baptised into the canon of iconic hell-raising couples before them, including Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton.
On their first date, MGK hired a Cadillac and took Megan for a rose-petal-strewn picnic of sushi overlooking Los Angeles where they “breathed each other”; their second date they went swimming with sharks in Bora Bora.
They’ve described each other as “twin flames” descended from the same soul, tattooed each other and recently arrived at the launch of MGK’s nail polish line chained together via their fingernails. Their PDAs are prolific, their high-vis double dates with Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker or Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson have created a whole new genre and aesthetic in celebrity dating culture.
And then there’s the blood drinking. This is Megan’s first interview since accepting MGK’s marriage proposal. In their engagement video released in January this year and filmed at the foot of an ancient banyan tree at the Ritz-Carlton in Puerto Rico where they had met in January 2021 while filming Midnight In The Switchgrass (a film MGK has reportedly denounced) Megan posted on Instagram: “Just as in every lifetime before this one and as in every lifetime that will follow it, I said yes… And then we drank each other’s blood.”
I have to clarify: “Um, so did you actually drink each other’s blood?”
“Yeah. So, I guess to drink each other’s blood might mislead people or people are imagining us with goblets and we’re like Game of Thrones, drinking each other’s blood,” she responds, laughing. “It’s just a few drops, but yes, we do consume each other’s blood on occasion for ritual purposes only.
“I’m much more controlled. I read tarot cards and I’m into astrology and I’m doing all these metaphysical practices and meditations. And I do rituals on new moons and full moons, and all these things. And so, when I do it, it’s a passage or it is used for a reason. And it is controlled where it’s like, ‘Let’s shed a few drops of blood and each drink it.’ He’s much more haphazard and hectic and chaotic, where he’s willing to just cut his chest open with broken glass and be like, ‘Take my soul,’” she says, dramatically mimicking her beloved’s alleged chest-bearing, chest-slashing passion.
“And that actually happens?” I ask wide-eyed, unsure if she is joking.
“It doesn’t not happen,” she responds, laughing. “Let me tell you. Maybe not exactly like that, but a version of that has happened many times.”
Just like the engagement, the stunning emerald and diamond ring, which I clock as soon as I meet Megan, is also exceptional and unique to the couple: the magnetic band is designed as two thorns, which she recently joked was created so that it would hurt her should she ever remove it. MGK designed the jewel with acclaimed British jewellery designer, Stephen Webster who told GLAMOUR, “That ring is a massive deal, it’s sparked a whole new trend in magnetic rings. Colson’s a great guy and he said he wanted a ring that everyone would talk about.” And he succeeded.
Megan tells me that she believes she has been manifesting Colson since she was four years old, and I ask her if it’s true that he only took the role in Midnight In The Switchgrass so he could meet her.
[MGK] IS LITERALLY MY EXACT PHYSICAL TYPE THAT I’VE BEEN MANIFESTING SINCE I WAS FOUR. I’M ALSO FOUR YEARS OLDER THAN HIM. SO, I THINK I MADE HIM.
“He says that,” she responds. “And I do believe even the day before, he was trying to basically quit the movie and his best friend, Rook, his drummer, and then also his manager, Ashleigh, were both like, ‘But your scenes are with Megan Fox.’ And he was like, ‘F*ck it! I’ll get on the plane.’
“And I had a reverse experience where I didn’t know why I was taking the movie. I just knew I needed to do it for some reason. And then when I was at the table read, there was still one character that hadn’t been cast. And I asked, ‘Who was playing that character?’ And they were like, ‘Oh, it’s Machine Gun Kelly.’ And I kind of knew the name, but didn’t, so I’m looking it up and I was like, ‘Oh, I’m going to be in so much trouble…’
“He’s literally my exact physical type that I’ve been manifesting since I was four. I’m also four years older than him. So, I think I made him. My thoughts and intentions grew him into the person that he is, who knows what he would’ve looked like or been like if it wasn’t for me.”
Last year, the couple went to Costa Rica where they took the indigenous psychoactive plant-based brew ayahuasca together that is said to open one’s mind and heal past trauma, administered by a shaman. (Ayahuasca is legal in Costa Rica, but not in the US or UK.) “That was a Hail Mary to be honest! We had gotten to a point where I was like, ‘We need essentially an adrenaline injection of God in this relationship,’’ Megan says.
“And we each went in with different questions that we wanted the medicine to answer for us. It was incredibly intense, the whole experience.” She tells me the details of the ceremony: fasting beforehand then drinking a tea that makes you vomit violently before taking the medicine, and I wonder what impact this had on their relationship? “It bound us together in a way,” she says, “it confirmed a lot of things for us that I needed to know or I needed to feel. It opened a door for a lot of healing for me, from a personal experience I had with him, that allowed us to get to a place where we were now seeking the right outlets to heal moving forward.”
In recent months, MGK has faced backlash after comments and clips from his past emerged, which seem to paint him in an unsavoury light including a war of words with fellow rapper Eminem over the latter’s 16-year-old daughter, who MGK reportedly said was “hot” in a now-deleted Tweet. And then in an interview in 2013, he spoke about his desire to sleep with a-then 17-year-old Kendall Jenner (underage in the US.)
I ask her what she thinks about this and we discuss the situation, but Megan doesn’t want to publicly comment on Colson’s behalf. Colson has yet to publicly address the comments.
When discussing controversial couples of the past and iconic duos who the pair have often been likened to, I ask her why she thinks the world is so obsessed with the notion of an ‘It couple’ and how she feels about comparisons with iconic lovers who have come before?
“I think Pam and Tommy were twin flames, I think they were soulmates. Kurt and Courtney is a darker version of the same thing,” she says of the two ’90s power couples. “So I think when you find people that come together whose souls have known each other, who have travelled here to do this again, there’s something undeniable about that. And again, it can provoke a positive feeling in you, or it could provoke a very negative feeling.”
We’re meeting on the morning of the Grammys and later that day their close friends Kourtney and Travis will spark global headlines getting married in a top-secret Las Vegas ceremony (although it’s later revealed to be a practice wedding due to it being too late to get an actual licence). I’m curious to know about the two couples’ dynamic as a foursome.
“They’re magnetic,” she says of the pair. “So nobody’s really interacting with them too much, because they’re just stuck. They’re stuck together like this (gesturing a magnetic attraction). We’ve been to Vegas with them a couple of times and events and things like that. But we’re not going on picnics or road trips,” she says.
“We don’t have a lot of double dates. I mean, between all of us, there’s 900 kids!” she jokes.
Megan tends to be very private about her family and so it’s often forgotten that she is a mother of three (although there have been a few trips to Disneyland recently documented on her Instagram) and I ask her about the challenges she faces as a parent.
“It is hard, because I travel for long periods of time and they have to attend school, which is what it is. I wish I could take them out to travel with me, it would make things a lot easier,” she says. “I cry often, every new moon usually. I get in the bath and cry a lot about it, because it is hard and not because of pressures that anybody else or society puts on you, but it is just hard being separated from them in that way. They are my DNA.
“It’s hard to not feel obligated to be with them all the time or to constantly feel like I’m not doing a good enough job, but I’m also separated from their father. So, I can only have them half of the time. That just is what it is. And in some ways that allows me to have moments for myself, where I can live my life as me, not just always being someone’s mother and that’s nice, but you always struggle with the guilt, kind of feeling like, ‘I haven’t done enough’.”
Megan has spoken in the past about Noah’s desire to wear dresses and protecting her eldest from bullying because of this. When I ask her about this today, and how she speaks to her kids about gender identity, she is moved to tears.
“Noah started wearing dresses when he was about two, and I bought a bunch of books that sort of addressed these things and addressed a full spectrum of what this is. Some of the books are written by transgender children. Some of the books are just about how you can be a boy and wear a dress; you can express yourself through your clothing however you want. And that doesn’t even have to have anything to do with your sexuality. So from the time they were very young, I’ve incorporated those things into their daily lives so that nobody feels like they are weird or strange or different,” she tells me.
“I can’t control the way other people react to my children. I can’t control the things that other children – that they go to school with – have been taught and then repeat to them,” she says, her voice wavering. “That’s also why I don’t really put my children on Instagram or social media. I’m so proud of my kids. Noah is an unbelievable pianist. He can learn Mozart’s concerto in an hour. I want people to see that, but I also don’t want the world to have access to this gentle soul and say all the things that we all know they’re going to say.
“I send my kids to a school where the other parents are similar in their beliefs. And the other kids aren’t really on the internet, the same way that most kids are. So they know that their parents are famous, but their knowledge of it is very limited. I knew when they were very young, I wanted to try to protect them however I could, especially limiting their exposure to the internet. So far, we’ve done a really good job and we maintain their innocence in a lot of ways, but I know I can’t protect them forever, though I do have a child that suffers. So I have a lot of worries about that, because I just wish that humanity was not like this. Although my kid is so brave and my child is so brave and I know that they’ve chosen this journey for a reason. It’s just hard as a mom.”
Speaking about this has clearly affected Megan and we take a break so that she can compose herself. I thank her for being so candid and apologise for upsetting her, but she puts her hand on my arm and tells me I have not upset her, and reassures me that she wants to talk about these issues as they are important: “I have to be honest.”
After talking so much about her role as a partner and a mother, I wonder what self-care looks like to her? She’s already told me that she hasn’t touched alcohol for over a decade – “I’m always completely sober. I don’t even drink a glass of wine. I don’t ever smoke. I don’t drink coffee. I’m super strict with my diet and I never deviate,” she says.
“I’m not saying you have to be like that. I’m saying for me, that’s how I feel the best. When I was in Costa Rica, somebody described the purpose of alcohol with plant medicine: you use alcohol to extract the essence of a plant. And I thought, ‘That is exactly how alcohol makes me feel. As though it is extracting my essence.’ Which is why I have avoided it for so long. Again, that’s specific to me, but also self-care is enough quiet time to be able to connect to my super consciousness, my higher consciousness, connect to God, connect to spirit. And this lifestyle makes it very difficult sometimes. I do feel very lost when I’m not able to do that, so I have to have time to ground myself. And that is being able to do the metaphysical things that I like to do, the spiritual things that I like to do and having silence. I avoid my phone as much as I possibly can all the time, but there are times where I avoid it completely. The same thing with anything that has an LED light in it. And I just go back to what our bodies were made for, which is to be in nature and to be silent within ourselves.”
As our remarkable conversation draws to a close, I ask Megan what would she like her legacy to be?
“I’d like to be remembered as somebody who was brave, who was unafraid to explore and become myself, regardless of anyone else’s commentary. But I also want my legacy eventually to be someone who helped others, either helped others to find themselves in a similar way or helped others to feel love, to feel self-love and to be able to give that love to their own children and to their own family. Because that spreads, obviously. And that’s what we’re all missing right now.”