Claire Foy Found Pay Gap With Male Co-Star On The Crown ‘Heartbreaking’

"I wasn't shocked. I was upset."

Claire Foy is opening up about discovering the pay gap between herself, and Matt Smith during their time starring in Netflix’s hit period drama, The Crown.

Claire portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in seasons one and two of the hit series. While Matt played Prince Phillip, alongside her for the same duration. But following season one, an executive from the show’s production company, Left Bank Pictures, revealed that despite played the titular character, Claire was earning less than Matt.

In a new interview, the Emmy Award winner revealed how she discovered the pay difference, along with everyone else, when the news broke publicly.

“I wasn’t shocked. I was upset. Not like, boohoo, crying upset. I was very upset. I don’t think I allowed myself to [express anger],” the 38 year old told The Guardian.

“Sometimes, you see something, you hear something, you notice something, or something happens to you, and you just go, ‘Oh God, what am I doing? Why am I doing it? Should I be part of this?’ I found it really heartbreaking.”


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At the same time as The Crown’s pay gap controversy, news also broke of a similar situation with the film All The Money In The World. It was reported that Mark Walberg earned $1.5 million (around €1.3 million) to refilm scenes replacing Kevin Spacey, while his female co-star Michelle Williams is said to have only earned around $1000 (approximately €923).

Following the incident, Claire felt enormous pressure to be s speak out, but struggled with being a sort of spokesperson for the gender pay gap.

“Suddenly I was getting asked all these questions and being encouraged by certain people involved to be the spokesperson for it. I was like, ‘Absolutely f****** not’. I just think everybody wanted me to behave in a certain way, in response to it. And I didn’t. ‘It’s fine! It’s absolutely fine what happened!’. That’s what I think they wanted me to say.”

“I mean, it’s so hard. I don’t think I should be honest about certain things about it, because I don’t think it would be helpful. It would add more fuel to it. We’re still talking about this, however many years down the line,” she confessed.


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Claire returned as the lead for the show’s second season, following the pay gap revelation.

Explaining why, the star clarified: “I still went back on the show. If anything, I just didn’t want my experience of the show and what we all did on it to be overshadowed.”

Overall, Claire expressed her relief that the incident led to improvements in equal pay, having an “amazing impact” as “you can’t lie now.”

Following the public reveal of the show’s pay gap, Left Bank Pictures apologised to Claire and Matt and took responsibility for the difference between their salaries.