Melissa McCarthy intended to stir controvery with her Elle cover for the magazine's November 2013 issue and said she is fully supportive of the media attention it received -- despite much of it being negative press.
"I wanted to kind of look like the walk of shame. When you're kinda comin home...There was a big 'to-do' about it," she said on Friday, Nov. 1, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. "Which made me laugh because [it's like] how dare someone put me in a $3,000 coat? That's terrible! I wanna know why I don't own the coat. I want the coat! "
Many critics slammed McCarthy's cover and called it "fat-shaming" when compared to other, more revealing covers. The criticism stemmed from the actress' wardrobe on the cover, since she was covered up in an oversized trenchcoat and not showing much skin.
One Slate writer emphasized, "McCarthy's hair covers a quarter of her gorgeous face, and with her hands stuffed deep into her coat pockets, the only visible flesh is a tiny triangle between the coat's lapels and the briefest glimpse of calf."
However, McCarthy said the cover look was her idea.
"I picked out the coat. I had a great little black dress. On the way out I was like... we live here in LA and I was like I can't wait for fall I'm so sick of the hot weather. And so I [grabbed the coat and] thought 'ooh is that cashmere?' I pulled it off and ran upstairs and then 'jacketgate' started."
Leno defended The Heat actress by saying many men think her cover look is sexy. He told her, "I love the hair. I love that kind of mysterious [look]. That's that just got out of bed look which is really sexy."
Elle responded to the uproar with a released statement:
"On all of our shoots, our stylists work with the stars to choose pieces they feel good in, and this is no different: Melissa loved this look, and is gorgeous on our cover. We are thrilled to honor her as one of our Women in Hollywood this year."