Jared Leto Recalls Presenting Elizabeth Holmes With a Woman of the Year Award: ‘I Liked Her a Lot’

Before she was convicted of criminal fraud, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes was a minor celebrity, featured on red carpets and magazine covers for her supposed technological innovations. In 2015, she was one of the recipients of Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year award, which was presented to her by Jared Leto.

“I had heard her speak, before that, on stage. She was incredibly smart, and I met her after that. I liked her a lot,” Leto said of the encounter during VarietyActors on Actors” presented by Apple TV+. “She was really sweet, really kind, and no indication that things weren’t great in her life and at the company. And then I gave her an award.”

Leto was joined by Amanda Seyfried, who recently played Holmes to much acclaim in the Hulu miniseries “The Dropout.” During their conversation about approaching notorious figures like Holmes and WeWork founder Adam Neumann, whom Leto portrayed in the Apple TV+ miniseries “WeCrashed,” Seyfried brought up Leto’s connection to Holmes and asked him about the experience.

“As an actor, I care about my character. I’m there with her,” Seyfried said. “As much as I can be, as an actor — outside of her world, having nothing to do with her — I’m kind of in awe of anyone who’s spent time with her, because she’ll always be far removed from me. Because we were not allowed to meet.”

Speaking about his experience with Holmes, Leto said that they kept in touch after the ceremony, and that he, personally, had nothing but good interactions with her.

“We stayed in touch after that and talked a few times,” Leto said. “But my experience with her was always quite nice and lovely, and I think what’s interesting about bringing a character to life — not everyone is one thing.”

During the conversation, Leto also asked Seyfried how she will feel after Holmes, who was convicted this January of defrauding Theranos investors, is sentenced this September. Seyfried said she’s thought a lot about the sentencing due to spending time with the creators of the original “Dropout” podcast, and she believes that her and series creator Elizabeth Meriwether have a unique sense of sympathy toward Holmes after working so hard to understand her.

“Not to say we’re team Elizabeth, but I had to figure her out in a way, from such a place of passion and worthiness,” Seyfried said. “We all should have a voice, especially when you only see one dimension of somebody.”

Seyfried also expressed her opinion that, while the real Holmes needs to take accountability for her fraud, she also is a brilliant person who is capable of creating something great.

“I know that whatever she’ll be sentenced to, it’s what she deserves. And, I also know, in my gut, that there’s a space for her outside of this whole Theranos thing,” Seyfried said. “Outside of prison, if she goes to prison, she’ll spend her time there and then she’ll get out and then she’ll create something or invent something new that will work. I don’t know if I’m the only person that feels that way, but it feels like there are a few of us, and I’d love to see her take responsibility in a very vocal way, which she has not.”