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The love triangle of Buffy-Angel-Spike may have been at the heart of Buffy the Vampire Slayer., but another love story became equally important to fans: Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson).
Willow had previously been in a relationship with werewolf Oz (Seth Green) but met fellow witch Tara in college. Creator Joss Whedon broke the news to Hannigan in between scenes during season 3. She remembers, “We were walking in the parking lot, and he just said, ‘Willow’s going to get a friend, and she’s going to be a special friend.’ I was like, ‘Okay, great!’ I didn’t really know what that meant.”
The romance was one of the first major lesbian love stories shown on network television and became incredibly important to Buffy‘s fans and the LGBT audience. “You got to see the journey, so that, I think, was very groundbreaking, and … I’ve never had anything but just such a positive reaction,” says Hannigan. “It’s just been such a profound thing for people who were going through the same thing or just terrified of what they were going to have to go through and just to see somebody that they had been watching for so many years to get to not feel so alone, it’s like it’s such a gift to be able to be part of that.”
Adds Benson, “We’ve got a lot of letters. I think there were a lot of young people who felt very isolated, and to see two characters on a television show be accepted by a group of peers changed the game. The already loved Willow but then to see that Willow became even more somebody that they could identify with it made it okay for them to be who they were.”