When the scandal broke, Sienna was just 23-years-old and starring in a stage production of Shakespeare's As You Like It. Unsurprisingly, she was devastated, but did her best to carry on for the sake of her career. Speaking to the Daily Beast in 2020, she revealed how difficult it was to push through the pain and appear on stage every night.
“That was one of the most challenging moments I hope I’ll ever have to experience," she told the publication. "With that level of public heartbreak, to have to get out of a bed let alone stand in front of 800 people every night, it’s just the last thing you want to do."
Sienna and Jude ended their relationship in the wake of his affair, with both of them enduring relentless tabloid attention. In 2009, the couple rekindled things but went on to break up again (this time for good) in 2011. Fast forward to 2022, both Jude and Sienna have gone on to have children with new partners and seem to be on amicable terms, but the world isn't quick to forget the tumultuous fallout of 2005.
In the 17 years since, the actress has seldom spoke about the incident, but in a rare, candid interview with ELLE UK, she describes how her latest onscreen role has seen her confronted with the past. Starring in Netflix's new show, Anatomy Of A Scandal, Sienna plays the role of Sophie Whitehouse, the wife of a politician whose world is rocked after discovering that her husband has been accused of raping a colleague with whom he’d had an affair.
“It was familiar terrain, because I've experienced some of the things that she experienced. And the feelings were familiar,” she told ELLE UK. "Her way of dealing with what's thrown at her is the absolute antithesis of what my way is. And so, in a kind of twisted, tourism sense, I just wanted to see how it would feel to react differently.”
She went on to explain that exploring the experiences of this new character gave her an outlet to process her own trauma and reclaim her power.
“I know that sounds weird, because you’d think it would be deeply unpleasant to sit in that space,” Sienna said. “There is something cathartic, I suppose, about spending time in an ugly space that’s familiar. And maybe reclaiming it? I don’t know what the psychology of it is. But there is something where maybe you can substitute a memory with something else.”
Despite the painful memories, Sienna also confessed that she looks back on their relationship with fondness, describing those early days as "magic."
"I was just catapulted into a totally parallel universe while being in love [with Jude]," she said of her overnight transition into mainstream stardom. "There was a lot of magic at that time. At first, it was kind of comical, but very quickly it became insidious and, yeah, scary," she told the publication.
It's a solemn reminder that despite their international fame, celebrities are real people dealing with real feelings. While the world is quick to exploit their personal lives as tabloid fodder, we must acknowledge the long-term damage this outlook has. Luckily for Sienna, she feels she has now closed that chapter of her life and is ready to move on.
"The chaos of the entire decade is so far removed from my life now," she mused.
Anatomy Of A Scandal is dropping on Netflix on April 15.