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When Melissa McCarthy picked out a swanky gray coat to wear on the cover of Elle magazine’s November issue, she had no idea she was igniting a controversy.
The 43-year-old actress told CNN at the magazine’s Monday celebration of Women in Hollywood that the negative reaction to the cover, with some accusing the magazine of putting McCarthy in an overcoat in order to hide her size, caught her off guard.
“I was just completely surprised by it,” McCarthy told CNN Monday night. “I’m the one that grabbed the coat off the rack ... I thought it was a fantastic coat, it was really chic.”
The reason she picked it, “The Heat” actress says, wasn’t because she was ashamed of her figure but because she was excited for the seasonal fashion to come.
“I had a great little black dress on, and it was summer, and I was like, ‘Oh God, is summer ever gonna end? I want it to be coat weather.’ So I grabbed the coat and ran up on the roof and we shot it,” she said.
If McCarthy has any regrets, it’s that she didn’t keep the coat as swag. “I didn’t steal the coat, which now I regret,” she joked. “It was gorgeous, I should’ve taken it.”
That explanation may not satisfy those who saw a discrepancy between the other stars Elle picked to cover their Women in Hollywood issue, like Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley, who are shown not in heavy winter gear but a sleek dress with cutouts and a bathing suit.
As one observer on Twitter said, “#Elle Put Melissa McCarthy In A Big Coat To Hide Her Body — The coat is gorge, but the difference in shots is sad.”
Elle’s Editor in Chief, Robbie Myers, reiterated the magazine’s official statement that stylists worked with McCarthy to select a look they like and feel comfortable in.
The response, Myers said, is “a manufactured controversy over a manufactured problem. I think she looked beautiful and she loved it ... I don’t think Melissa McCarthy is doing anything that she doesn’t want to do.”
Breeanna Hare | CNN