Jessica Chastain’s Difficult Childhood Taught Her How to Stand Up to Bullying


Bullies beware – Jessica Chastain once beat up her mother’s boyfriend.

The Zero Dark Thirty actress grew up the child of a single parent for a large part of her youth and learned lessons from her mum’s lovers that bullies are “weak” and don’t go after “strong people”.

“My mom was a single mom,” Jessica tells The Wall Street Journal. “I don’t know who my biological father is, and I grew up in a household that was really financially unstable… Whenever a man would come into the household, it would usually lead to some sense of financial upheaval.”

“There was a turning point in my life, where we were living with someone I didn’t like very much – a boyfriend of my mom’s,” she continues, “and he did something. My room was messy or whatever and he had taken my clothes, and I was telling him to give me back my stuff – and he slapped me.

“I just kicked him in the genitals, and he fell to the ground immediately… And then I ran out of the house. But I always look back on that moment as knowing that, ‘OK, if anything happens to me, I’m capable of fighting back’. He never messed with me again. If you allow a bully to intimidate or victimize you, they’ll continue to do it. Bullies are actually weak; they don’t go after strong people.”

Chastain, who plays real-life poker queen Molly Bloom in new film Molly’s Game, also reveals her childhood handed her a strong work ethic, because of her financial situation.

“I came from a family with no money, and I’m sure it provided the work ethic,” she says. “I knew that no one was going to give me anything for free.”

“I think that’s why I don’t like gambling,” she adds. “I don’t want to leave anything up to chance. I don’t believe in that. I like to know, ‘OK, if I show up to work and I work 10 hours and I make this much money an hour, I’m going to get this much money at the end of the day’. I like that structure.”