Dakota Fanning feels the need to ''defend her life'' because of her past as a child star.

The 24-year-old actress shot to fame at the age of seven after starring as Lucy Dawson in 'I Am Sam', but has said that she gets tired of being asked whether or not she regrets missing out on traditional childhood experiences because of her early success, and feels as though she has to stick up for the life she has led.

She said: ''I feel like I have to defend my life, and then it's like when you hear someone like overly defending you're like, 'Oh they must be overcompensating for something.' So you're walking this line of defending yourself, but not too much, because I don't have anything to defend.''

The 'Alienist' star insists that being an actress from a young age has let her travel to places and meet people she never would have met without her career, and says the overall experience has ''added so much'' to her life that she doesn't feel as though she missed out on her childhood.

Speaking to fellow child star Freddie Highmore for Variety magazine's 'Actors on Actors' series, she said: ''When I look back and I think of the experiences being an actor has brought me, I just don't know a lot of other people our age who have been to the places we've been and met all different kinds of people and the friendships. It's added so much to my life and it does kind of hurt me a little bit when people try and somehow turn it into a negative and I don't like it.''

And Freddie - who rose to prominence at the age of 12 with his role in 'Finding Neverland' in 2004 - agreed with Dakota's comments.

The 26-year-old actor told her: ''Acting for me just added something onto my childhood, as opposed to thinking it was taking me away from the childhood I was meant to have.''