Because the elephant in this room is threatening to crush us from the get-go, I mention that I’m a bit surprised she showed up. “Right now I don’t have the wherewithal to be anything except professional,” she admits wanly. “As soon as I found out about the arrest, I had to get on a plane to Mexico to do a press tour for Get Smart. And then I spent a week in shock at a friend’s house. And then I had to go back and do more press, and I haven’t stopped since.
“At different stages of my life, I’ve felt I’ve been two ages simultaneously,” she continues in a slow, measured cadence. “I’d be a professional working adult and also a typical 13-year-old. Right now I have the distinct feeling that I’m two ages again, and the older part of me that I relied on many times in the past in difficult moments, that’s the part that got me here today. That’s the part that says, ‘You do your job, you keep your head up.’”
Hathaway declines to discuss specifics about Follieri, the scandal, what she knew or when she knew it—there have been reports that investigators have approached her for information, and she could be called as a trial witness—but she is candid about what it feels like to have your personal life abruptly implode. She’s been staying at a friend’s downtown since moving out of the midtown apartment she shared with Follieri, which was searched by the authorities. “I have to find a place to live,” she says numbly. But then her voice catches with emotion and pools form at the corners of her eyes as she struggles to articulate her messy mix of feelings. “It’s a situation where the rug was pulled out from under me all of a sudden,” she says. “But just as suddenly, my friends threw another rug back under me. One said, ‘Go stay at my house.’ And Steve Carell [her Get Smart costar] stepped up for me during an interview when someone asked a question [about it]. He said, ‘At some point you’re going to have to talk about this time in your life. You don’t have to do it this week. I’ll take care of anything that comes your way.’
“I’ve been shown such kindness,” she continues, wiping at an errant tear. “Not everyone gets that. A lot of people go through tough times alone.”
Hathaway has less to say about the beating she’s taking in the press. “What’s going on is so much bigger than all that,” she says. “Though it’s crazy that things like that Newsweek article have become small stuff.” One eyebrow arches with ironic resignation. She declares that she has no desire to correct any of the misinformation that’s padded much of the scandal coverage, though a week later she sends an e-mail addressing a recent Page Six item: “I did not abandon my dog, Esmeralda, and no one had to ask me to go and get her. In fact, the day before that particular news item broke I had arranged to have her picked up and taken to my parents’ apartment.” (Hathaway’s mother, a former stage actress, and her father, a lawyer, also live in Manhattan.) “My dad likes telling the story,” the e-mail continues, “in a funny/sad sort of way, that Esmeralda was at [their] house watching herself on Access Hollywood as Nancy O’Dell or someone asked, ‘Where in the world is Esmeralda?’”