Natalie Imbruglia discusses “shocking” media treatment in the late ’90s: “I was called difficult”

"I wanted to cover up, and it didn't go down well"

Natalie Imbruglia has opened up about her treatment by mainstream media in the late ’90s, describing it in a new interview as “shocking”.

Speaking with The Forty Five to promote the 25th anniversary of her debut album ‘Left Of The Middle’, Imbruglia fielded a question pertaining to TFI Friday presenter Chris Evans. The radio and television personality once lambasted Imbruglia on air for the fact that her hit single ‘Torn’ was not written by her; the song was originally written and performed by American band Ednaswap in 1995. Imbruglia explained that he had done this because she turned him down when asking her out on a dinner date.

“I saw him in a pub and I went up to him and got in his face and was like, ‘You owe me an apology,'” she recalled. “He looked terrified and I was like, ‘Do you realise what you did?’ So he gave the most genuine, look-me-in-the-eye apology, and then got me on the show and tried to correct that.” The Australian-born singer went on to note that her treatment from Evans was symptomatic of a larger issue within the mainstream media.

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“Recently, I had to look back through some old press articles,” said Imbruglia. “We can’t put all of this on Chris, this is an industry [where] certain things were a given – but it’s quite shocking now to look back at some of those old articles.

“I was made of pretty tough stuff, I just took it on the chin, but I think what you see in that ‘Torn’ video is someone taking ownership after being exploited in numerous situations and going, ‘I don’t need to show my body. I’m gonna draw a line in the sand.’ There were numerous occasions I was called difficult because of that, because I wouldn’t wear a dress. I wanted to cover up, and it didn’t go down well.”

Imbruglia went on to note in the interview that this period of her life also coincided with her “going through curiosity about [her] sexuality”.

“[It’s] more evident to me now when I look at myself back then,” she said.
That exploration was a period of time that I had to go through very privately – [which is] another thing that people can go through a lot more openly now.”

Imbruglia has spoken openly about her struggles with body image while promoting ‘Left Of The Middle”s silver jubilee. Three weeks ago, speaking with The Independent, the singer said she was “body dysmorphic and insecure” while making the video for ‘Torn’.

“My intention in wearing that [outfit] was so that you couldn’t see my silhouette, because I didn’t want anyone to see,” Imbruglia said. “But it ended up that there was a power in that, because it was like [seen as] androgyny cool.

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“But it really came from a place of, ‘Thank God I don’t have to wear a dress!'”

Last month saw Imbruglia complete a UK tour, in which she performed nearly every song from ‘Left Of The Middle’. Prior to the October tour, Imbruglia made an on-stage appearance with Olivia Rodrigo in London to perform a duet of ‘Torn’.

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