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Dario Franchitti lauds wife Ashley Judd for lashing out at speculation over her appearance

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LONG BEACH, Calif. - IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti applauded wife Ashley Judd on Friday for standing up to accusations she's had plastic surgery.

Franchitti said he was angered by media speculation that the actress had altered her face, and gave her the phone number of an attorney he's used in Scotland.

"I had read something about these comments on her face, and I got really (mad) and I said to her 'This is outrageous. This has gone too far,'" he told The Associated Press. "But that's all I did. My reaction to it got her thinking, and then she did everything else. She's the one who had the courage to go out there and I am really proud of her for doing it."

Judd on Monday released an essay called "The Conversation" on The Daily Beast that decried the speculation about her appearance. She said the puffiness in her face was caused by steroids she was taking to treat a sinus infection.

"The conversation was pointedly nasty, gendered, and misogynistic and embodies what all girls and women in our culture, to a greater or lesser degree, endure every day," Judd wrote, stressing the issue is about "the assault on (women's) body image."

Franchitti, the four-time IndyCar champion, said the couple has been amazed at the reaction to Judd's piece. Since her essay was published, she's done numerous national television interviews discussing the issues women face, and has posted on Twitter some of the responses she's received. Many of them are blogs by women who have faced similar attacks about their appearance or body image.

"The reaction from people has been incredible," Franchitti said. "Her thing was it was not about her — the initial piece was about her, but it was to get it started, to get this conversation kick started. That's what she was trying to do, get this big discussion going.

"I am just really proud for having the courage to do it, because I think it would be easier to be status quo and have people write lies about you. Good for her for standing up."

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