February 14, 2013, 12:20 pm

Actor Jeremy Irons has defended controversial statements about touching women's bottoms in 2011.

Related: 'Beautiful Creatures' trailer

In 2011, Jeremy Irons courted controversy when he was reported to have said in a radio interview: "If a man puts his hand on a woman's bottom, any woman worth her salt can deal with it. It is communication. Can't we be friendly?"

Now though, in an interview with The Times, he is claiming that he was misquoted.

"I love touching, I always touch people," Irons told the newspaper in his defence.

"I don't think I said 'bottom' [in the Radio Times interview] but of course I was misquoted. Basically, I said that any self-respecting woman would tell you to f*** off [if she minded]."

Jeremy Irons at a press conference during the 63rd Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin Germany on February 13. Credit: Getty Images

In the new interview, Irons also admitted that as a young actor he had to fend off sexual advances, saying: "I think we're very robust as human beings. I had people when I was younger trying to feel me up. Older men. I just told them to get lost."

Yet another controversial statement from The Times interview included the retelling of a story about a female friend of his who had been involved with an older man when she was 13.

"There was sex involved. She said: 'By the time I was 16 or 17, it petered out – it's never affected me at all.'"

Irons topped this off of course by continuing: "There are people who are victims in life and I don't think they should be encouraged."

As for the legacy Irons would like to leave behind, he said he'd like to go "having touched people in some way... not literally, of course."

Irons was interviewed while on the promo trail for his new film, 'Beautiful Creatures,' which, he admitted, is "not the sort of thing I would ever go and see." Ouch.

Related: Emmy Rossum on 'Beautiful Creatures'

Beautiful Creatures opens locally on February 21.

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