Michael Bay insists he "truly respects" Kate Beckinsale.
The 51-year-old filmmaker has come under fire after the 42-year-old actress recently revealed he advised her to lose weight to star as Nurse Lt. Evelyn Johnson in his 2001 drama Pearl Harbor, but he has now spoken out to defend himself, insisting Kate's "funny story" has been taken out of context and he never had a problem with her body.
He wrote on his website: "Kate and I are friendly. She is a fantastic actress, very funny, witty lady, sassy, speaks her mind, and I truly respect her. That's why she has come to so many of my Christmas parties and Birthday parties.
"This so called 'problem of us not liking each other' was reported by a tabloid-esque reporter after Kate appeared on an edgy English talk show, speaking about our meeting 16 years ago while casting Pearl Harbor.
"The reporter made her story into some scandalous confrontation, when it was nothing of the sort. Spoke to Kate today and she felt she told a funny story.
"So I guess I was the "bad guy" 16 years ago for suggesting a trainer because she just had her new beautiful baby girl--and she was about to enter into an intensive action movie. Note to reporters: 95 % of leads in movies have trainers and drink green juice!"
Michael's post was accompanied by a poster for the film featuring Kate - who has 17-year-old daughter Lily with former partner Michael Sheen - and he insisted he was very proud of their work together.
He wrote: "This poster has hung proudly over my desk for 15 years."
Kate previously claimed she left the director "baffled" by her dark hair and "boobs [that] weren't bigger" than her head.
She said: "I don't think I fitted the type of actress Michael Bay, the director, had met before. I think he was baffled by me because my boobs weren't bigger than my head and I wasn't blonde.
"I'd just had my daughter and had lost weight but was told that if I got the part I'd have to work out, and I just didn't understand why a 1940s nurse would do that."
And the Love & Friendship star also recalled some of the harsh comments made by Michael during promotion for the film.
Speaking on The Graham Norton Show, she shared: "When we were promoting the film, Michael was asked why he had chosen Ben [Affleck] and Josh [Hartnett]. He said, 'I have worked with Ben before and I love him, and Josh is so manly and a wonderful actor.'
"And then when he was asked about me, he'd say, 'Kate wasn't so attractive that she would alienate the female audience.' He kept saying it everywhere we went and we went to a lot of places."