Foster, who played Stewart's mom in the 2002 David Fincher thriller, published an essay in The Daily Beast Wednesday blasting the public's obsession with the younger actress' private life and saying that media scrutiny can "destroy childhoods."
In her essay, Foster, who has been acting since age 3, recounts "the cruelty of a life lived as a moving target."
"In my era, through discipline and force of will, you could still manage to reach for a star-powered career and have the authenticity of a private life. ... Not anymore," the Oscar winner writes. "If I were a young actor or actress starting my career today in the new era of social media and its sanctioned hunting season, would I survive? Would I drown myself in drugs, sex, and parties? Would I be lost? I've said it before and I will say it again: If I were a young actor today, I would quit before I started. If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don't think I could survive it emotionally."
Foster also slammed the cultural tongue-wagging around Stewart and her (presumably?) ex-boyfriend, Robert Pattinson — which evolved from are-they-or-aren't-they speculation about the Twilight co-stars' offscreen romance to outright Schadenfreude when it was revealed that Stewart had been unfaithful to Pattinson with Rupert Sanders, the married director of Snow White and the Huntsman.
"I grew to love that kid," Foster says of her time on the Panic Room set with Stewart, who was 10 and 11 at the time, recalling that she told Stewart's mother to try to talk her out of becoming a professional actress.
Her advice to the young starlet now?
"Eventually this all passes. The public horrors of today eventually blow away. And, yes, you are changed by the awful wake of reckoning they leave behind. You trust less. You calculate your steps. You survive. Hopefully in the process you don't lose your ability to throw your arms in the air again and spin in wild abandon. That is the ultimate F.U. and — finally — the most beautiful survival tool of all. Don't let them take that away from you."