Meryl Streep feared her career was over when she turned 40 because she was convinced directors had no use for women past "childbearing age."
The icon won critical acclaim early in her career with starring roles in "Out of Africa," "Sophie's Choice," and "A Cry in the Dark" but Streep confesses she entered the 1990s concerned that film projects would be few and far between.
She tells the new issue of Vogue magazine, "I remember turning to my husband and saying, 'Well, what should we do? Because it's over.'"
Streep's fears were momentarily realized when she received three consecutive scripts to play a witch - forcing Streep to come to terms with the pitfalls of ageing: "Once women passed childbearing age they could only be seen as grotesque on some level."
Ironically, the actress is still one of the most sought-after stars in Hollywood but she admits it's no coincidence most of her roles - like those in "The Devil Wears Prada," "Mamma Mia!," "Julie & Julia" and "It's Complicated" - involve Streep playing "women whose usefulness had passed."