Andie MacDowell Says She Refused to Attend Cannes in 1989 Because She “Just Had a Baby”

“I was afraid."

Andie MacDowell 1989
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Andie MacDowell is opening up about her decision to forego attending the Cannes Film Festival in 1989 because she was newly postpartum.

On Saturday, May 25, while attending the iconic festival, MacDowell told People during an interview that she "didn't come to Cannes (to promote her 1989 film) Sex, Lies and Videotape because she just "had a baby."

"I was afraid," she explained.

The actress went on to say that at the time it was socially acceptable to be "cruel to women," and assumedly thought she would face a barrage of criticism and insults as a postpartum mom if she showed up and walked the red carpet.

"I was, nursing, was really big and just motherly and whatever, and I didn't come," she explained. "And that's a shame. It's a real shame."

While being a new mom with a changing body stopped MacDowell from attending the festival then, she says she would make a different choice now, especially as societal expectations regarding new moms have slowly but surely started to shift in a positive, inclusive and more realistic direction.

Andie MacDowell 1989

Andie MacDowell, 1989

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"Because of the shift in our expectations and because we brought it out, they can't be like that to us anymore," she told the publication at the time, adding that if she as in the same position today she "wouldn't have been afraid to come."

"Now I embrace my womanly body. I think it's very sexy," she continued. "But I think we couldn't feel sexy about ourselves (back then) because they were telling us that we weren't."

The mom of three went on to say that while women may have tolerated unhealthy social norms in years past, they're no longer accepting that type of criticism or harmful standard of perceived beauty.

"We've claimed it, and we've taken it back and we've said, 'But this is what it is to be a woman. We're not girls, we're women,'" she added.

Andie MacDowell attends the closing ceremony red carpet at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 24, 2024 in Cannes, France.

Andie MacDowell attends the closing ceremony red carpet at the 77th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 24, 2024 in Cannes, France.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

MacDowell is the proud mom of three children—Justin, Rainey and Margaret Qualley—whom she shares with ex-husband Paul Qualley.

"My kids were always my priority and being a mother was the most important aspect of my life," the actress told Interview Magazine in a 2021 interview. "But I was competitive and I did want to work, so I was always balancing both of those aspects of my life."

Danielle Campoamor
Weekend Editor

Danielle Campoamor is Marie Claire's weekend editor covering all things news, celebrity, politics, culture, live events, and more. In addition, she is an award-winning freelance writer and former NBC journalist with over a decade of digital media experience covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mortality, gun violence, climate change, politics, celebrity news, culture, online trends, wellness, gender-based violence and other feminist issues. You can find her work in The New York Times, Washington Post, TIME, New York Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, TODAY, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Prism, Newsweek, Slate, HuffPost and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two feral sons. When she is not writing, editing or doom scrolling she enjoys reading, cooking, debating current events and politics, traveling to Seattle to see her dear friends and losing Pokémon battles against her ruthless offspring. You can find her on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and all the places.