Well, I don’t think so … not in the wildest stretch of the imagination could Jane Austen’s most prim and proprietous heroine be considered a woman of loose morals, yet Billie Piper the actress who portrayed Fanny in the 2007 adaptation of Mansfield Park is being tagged a tart by her elderly country neighbors in Midhurst, West Sussex where she lives with her husband, actor Laurence Fox (Mr. Wisley in Becoming Jane) and their young son Winston.
Mail Online is reporting that in an interview for the February issue of Marie Claire magazine, the 27-year old actress revealed that "A few of the older locals actually believe I'm a whore," because of her role in ITV’s and Showtime’s Secret Diary of a Call Girl based on the exploits of a real-life call girl Belle de Jour.
"They love Laurence because he's in Lewis (Inspector Lewis in the US), and his fan club are basically in their mid-sixties and upwards. (Ouch – that made his fans who are not senior citizens feel rather ancient). They love him. It's sickening. They follow him around, they want to mother him. I mean, there are places he can't go - like Mecca Bingo or the bowling green - but he loves it. Then they look at me and are like, "That slag! How could you dirty yourself with her? She's corrupted you.""
I guess Billie needs to send her neighbors the DVD of Mansfield Park to redeem her reputation. Fanny Price has been accused of being a prig, but never a tart!
Cheers, Laurel Ann, Austenprose