Tonya Harding is opening up about what it's like to see herself being portrayed on the big screen. In her upcoming two-hour ABC interview, Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story, the retired Olympian opens up about Margot Robbie's performance in I, Tonya.
"I felt so sorry for her that she had to actually play me, you know? You got this top, beautiful actress that actually has to try to — and did and succeeded — go through what I went through?" Harding, 47, says in a clip from the interview.
"When I watched Margot playing me, and the looks that she had, I knew that she had been studying me for quite some time. And when she told me, 'Well, I'd been studying you for almost a year,' I was, like, 'Oh, my God,' " she added.
While Harding said she felt sorry for Robbie, she also said she loved the final work from the cast and crew.
"They just did such a fabulous job. And hearing what people think, I guess, makes it better, you know?" she added.
At Sunday night's Golden Globe Awards, Allison Janney took home the hardware for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Harding's mother, LaVona Golden. During her acceptance speech, Janney revealed that Harding was in the audience.
"I would just like to thank Tonya for sharing her story… What this movie did is tell a story about class in America, tell a story about the disenfranchised, tell the story about a woman who was not embraced for her individuality, tell a story about truth and the perception of truth in the media and truths we all tell ourselves," Janney said on stage. "It's an extraordinary movie, and I'm so proud of it."
As the camera panned to Harding, she looked emotional as she held her hands to her chest and fought back tears.
I, Tonya follows the true story of Harding, who grew up with an abusive mother and became the wife of an abusive husband. Throughout her career as an American figure skater, she says she was put down for being creative and was overlooked by skaters from higher-class families — by Nancy Kerrigan in particular.
It was reported earlier in January that Harding admitted she was aware of a plot to attack Kerrigan ahead of the 1994 Olympic Games.
“I knew something was up,” Harding recalled of the time before Kerrigan was clubbed in the knee, practically ending her bright career. She denies playing any role in the attack, though, which was later revealed to have been orchestrated by her husband Jeff Gillooly and bodyguard Shawn Eckardt.
“I did, however, overhear them talking about stuff where, ‘Well, maybe we should take somebody out to make sure she gets on the team.’ I go, ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ ” Harding confessed in Truth and Lies: The Tonya Harding Story. It marked the first time she openly stated she knew danger may lie ahead for a fellow skater.
Harding said that while she had nothing to do with the malicious plot, she viewed herself as a “pawn” who largely took the fall for the incident, which was carried out by Shane Stant, a man hired by Gillooly and Eckardt.
“I’m always the bad person. And I never understood that,” she added.