Jodie Foster found acting ''cruel and hard''.

The 'Silence of the Lambs' actress has moved behind the camera in recent years but she admitted she doesn't think she'd have even been a film star if she hadn't been ''thrown into'' her career at the age of just three.

She said: ''I don't think I would have been an actor had I not been thrown into it at the age of three.

''It's just not my personality. Maybe that's what's made my work interesting. But it's been really cruel and hard to be an actor.''

And the 55-year-old star has deliberately tried to stay out of the spotlight as much as she can because she hates the idea of being seen as a ''celebrity''.

She said:'' It's hard for me to live with myself as the idea of celebrity.

''It makes me feel like I'm in a reality show. So I think I've neurotically gone in the other direction. I was raised in the public eye, so you have two options, you guard [your privacy] or you let it be for sale.''

Jodie took a break from acting in 1980 to study English at Yale and she adored the experience because it made her feel normal.

She told Red magazine: ''I was surrounded by people my own age for the first time in my life.

''It was my little utopia because I got to believe I was like everybody else.''

The 'Little Man Tate' filmmaker believes her own life has had a huge impact on her work.

She quipped: ''When I direct movies, I feel like every character is me. It all gets processed through me - my favourite subject.

''I'm well-adjusted enough about the tragedies in my life that I just can't take them that seriously.

''I can't just wallow and be like, 'My mother was mean to me'. I have to cut it with a little cynical humour.''