Samira Wiley may be happily married to wife Lauren Morelli, but the actress revealed a costar accidentally outed her before she was ready to go public about her sexuality.
The 31-year-old actress opened up about the traumatic experience in an interview on the Nancy podcast on Tuesday.
While Wiley did not name the costar who told the world Wiley was a lesbian, the actress did say the incident occurred while she played Poussey on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black.
“Someone from my cast actually, during the interview they were talking about out gay actors in the cast, and they mentioned my name and I saw it in print, and I cried,” Wiley said.
“I cried a lot. And I like, tried to get it taken down,” she said. “I had a journey. I wasn’t always super open-hearted, but um, yeah. More specifically, that’s something that somebody took from me. You should be able to come out on your own terms, so that was probably a little deeper.”
“I wasn’t out in the beginning and I think falling in love with Poussey, which is really a thing that happened to me, helped me fall in love with myself as well,” Wiley added.
Despite the pain of the experience, the actress, who won an Emmy last month for her performance on season 2 of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, said she is “a strong believer of whatever is supposed to happen will happen.”
“I think that if I wasn’t portraying these characters, I wonder how my own journey with my own sexual orientation, how I would embrace that, how I would walk the world if I wasn’t able to embrace the characters that I have been,” she said.
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“It’s not a choice but I’m very, very happy it’s worked out this way,” Wiley said.
In March 2017, she married her longtime partner, Morelli, in an intimate Palm Springs, California, ceremony surrounded by family and friends.
The pair met on the set of OITNB, as Morelli was a writer on the show.
Morelli was previously married and split from her husband after she realized she was gay while writing for the hit Netflix series. She penned an essay on Identities.Mic at the time detailing her experience.
“I realized I was gay in fall 2012, one of my first days on the set,” Morelli wrote.
“Accordingly, I was nervous about the first love scene I’d written for Alex and Piper,” she explained. “I loved writing it, loved watching a tenderness emerge in their relationship where passion always seemed to be the ruling principle, but by that time, I was so deep in my own self-doubt that I constantly felt like a fraud.”