Ginnifer Goodwin's Family "Best Support System I've Ever Seen"

After we detailed the furor surrounding Ginnifer Goodwin's "23-year-diet," one reader wrote in to defend her. She'd grown up with Goodwin and wanted us to know that she's anything but a bad role model.

You remember the drill: in an interview, Ginnifer Goodwin said that she's a lifelong proponent of the Weight Watchers program, which she started at nine. She credited it with helping her develop a balanced view of food and avoid the pitfalls of disordered eating so rampant in Hollywood. When people reacted to this with dismay — we, too, questioned a nine-year-old on a diet — she clarified once again that her mother's methods had been nothing but wholesome.

Now, I still hope too many mothers don't take her words at one-size-fits-all face value, that most kids won't worry about their weight at nine, and that people will take away Goodwin's emphasis on health. But I also wanted to share the words of this reader, R., who — while she doesn't claim to be a good friend of the actress — can contribute a lot more than just hearsay to the discussion. She remembers Goodwin's mother fondly, saying,

Ginnifer's younger sister was my close friend throughout my elementary school years, and we spent a lot of time together both at sleepovers and the like, and hanging out while our mothers spent time together. Her mother was my computer teacher for a few years, and in both her role as my teacher and as my friend's mom I viewed her as a mentor and a role model of sorts. She was the kind of cool mom who's rare in the South: she dressed in a manner that was much more artsy and cool than other moms around (dangly handmade earrings, baggy cowl neck sweaters, daring haircuts), pushed her daughters to be whomever they wanted to be rather than to join a sorority and marry rich, and encouraged all of the little girls around her to be creative and to make art...Ms. Goodwin never treated me like the fat, weird, oddball kid that almost every other adult in my ten-year-old life seemed to see me as. She treated me like the smart, artistically-inclined, beautiful little girl that I was. It's no surprise to me that both of her daughters reached way beyond the confines of boring Southern suburban life and have gone as far as they have. They have one of the best support systems I've ever seen in their mother. She's truly amazing.

Of Goodwin she remembers, "I saw her eating all different types of food growing up, junk food included; she definitely wasn't abiding by some insane code of eating, and I never saw her mother put pressure Ginnifer (or her sister) to eat any certain way."

In sum, she said, she hated to see Ms. Goodwin's mother portrayed as some kind of "diet-crazed monster" when her own memories so contradict this. It's not the positive stories that often make news — we, like everyone else, are inclined to notice the sensational and weird — so we hope this will help paint a fuller picture. And that if people take anything away from the whole thing, it's the power of words — and, of course, how little we really know.