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Dakota Fanning: ‘I Feel Like I Have to Defend My Life’ After Being a Child Star

Dakota Fanning has been acting almost her entire life, scoring her first SAG nomination at 8 years old and growing up in front of the camera. A childhood in the spotlight has brought plenty of queries about if she wished she had experienced a more traditional upbringing or missed out on being a kid, which she admits are questions that bother her.

During a recent conversation with Freddie Highmore for Variety’s “Actors on Actors,” presented by Shutterstock, Fanning said with those kind of questions, “I feel like I have to defend my life, and then it’s like when you hear someone like overly defending you’re like, ‘Oh they must be overcompensating for something.’ So you’re walking this line of defending yourself, but not too much, because I don’t have anything to defend.”

The Alienist” star added, “When I look back and I think of the experiences being an actor has brought me, I just don’t know a lot of other people our age who have been to the places we’ve been and met all different kinds of people and the friendships. It’s added so much to my life and it does kind of hurt me a little bit when people try and somehow turn it into a negative and I don’t like it.”

Now 24, Fanning began her professional acting career at 5 years old, and by age 7, she had her first starring role opposite Sean Penn in 2001’s “I Am Sam.”

Highmore, who also started his career as a child actor, agreed, saying, “acting for me just added something onto my childhood, as opposed to thinking it was taking me away from the childhood I was meant to have.”

The Emmy Award-winning “Actors on Actors” series will air in two episodes on PBS SoCal KOCE, the first on June 19 at 7 p.m. and the second on June 21 at 7 p.m. Both episodes will stream on pbssocal.org following their premieres.

Watch the full interview below:

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