Melissa McCarthy Elle Cover Draws Ire, Magazine Defends Conservative Pose

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Melissa McCarthy is at the center of another weighty debate.

The actress was slammed as a "tractor-sized hippo" by an obnoxious movie critic during his review of Identity Theft earlier this year; and controversy later swirled around posters for The Heat that appeared to Photoshop away her curvy figure.

Now, McCarthy is one of several famous women featured in Elle's "Woman in Hollywood" issue, but many critics are wondering why she's posing on the cover in a coat that covers her body.

Is the magazine trying to hide her voluptuous figure?

Melissa McCarthy Elle Cover

Not at all, according to an Elle spokesperson.

McCarthy had a major say in this fashion selection.

"On all of our shoots, our stylists work with the stars to choose pieces they feel good in, and this is no different: Melissa loved this look, and is gorgeous on our cover," the rep says in a statement. "We are thrilled to honor her as one of our Women in Hollywood this year."

Penélope Cruz also landed a cover for the special issue and is shot close up because she recently gave birth to her second child.

Reese Witherspoon, meanwhile, showed off her body in a tight-fitting dress on her cover, while Shailene Woodley wears a bathing suit. Check out their Elle looks here:

Reese Witherspoon Elle Cover
Shailene Woodley Elle Cover