If You Think Maria Bello Is A Lesbian, You Weren’t Paying Attention

The actress' personal essay is a coming out, but it's not so easy to sum up

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Maria Bello
Steve Granitz / WireImage / Getty Images

Mario Bello at the Los Angeles Premiere of "Towelhead" on Sept. 3, 2008, in Hollywood, Calif.

The New York Times‘ weekly “Modern Love” essay feature is no stranger to generating buzz—regular readers will remember the infamous “Shamu lady” —but this Sunday’s may have topped them all. In a piece titled “Coming Out as a Modern Family,” actress Maria Bello (PrisonersGrown UpsThe Cooler) described her decision to tell her 12-year-old son that she had become involved romantically with her best friend, a woman identified in the piece as Clare and ID’d by The Hollywood Reporter and other outlets as media executive Clare Munn.

But that buzz has, in many cases, missed the point. In reporting on the piece, many headlines have declared that Bello “came out as gay“—but, despite the phrasing in Bello’s own headline, that’s sort of the opposite of what she wrote about.

(MORE: Ten Questions for Prisoners star Hugh Jackman)

In her essay, Bello describes having had past romantic relationships with men and another woman. The central relationship in the piece is not her first same-sex one, and the essay isn’t about the actress first realizing that she was attracted to people of both genders. Rather, the narrative focuses on the writer’s worries that acknowledging this particular relationship could hurt her family and her career, juxtaposed with her family’s actual reaction:

[My son] looked at me for what seemed like an eternity and then broke into a huge, warm smile. “Mom, love is love, whatever you are,” he said with wisdom beyond his years. (Yes, he obviously attends one of those progressive schools in Los Angeles!)

I loved him so much for saying that. “But Jack, I’m a little scared,” I said. “When I was younger, people judged you if you were in a romantic relationship with a person of the same sex, and some still do. So I’m not sure how to deal with this. But we’ll figure it out together.”

In her final paragraph, Bello declares herself not a gay woman or lesbian or bisexual but, instead, “whatever.” That lack of a label, she decides, is what “modern” love looks like. And, if this morning’s other celeb coming-out news is any indication, she may be right: in a YouTube video posted by Olympian Tom Daley, the diver spent five minutes discussing his announcement that he’s in a relationship with a guy, all without suggesting a new label for his sexuality.


11 comments
SED_KY
SED_KY

"Yes, he obviously attends one of those progressive schools in Los Angeles!"


Yeah, that's it. It couldn't possibly be that you did your job as a ff*****g parent.

DeanKlovens
DeanKlovens

will you guys make up your f***k minds already!!

ElijahSnow
ElijahSnow

As a gay man, i HATE it when gays become so jaded that they start attacking bisexuals and attempting to render them invisible. We are marginalizing forward because we are being marginalized. And it's a terrible thing to do. Right now I have two male bisexual friends who are terrified of gay men, as they have been rejected and bullied over and over. This needs to stop.


NitaMoccia
NitaMoccia

Being a loving HUMAN is what it's all about......and labels are for a fear riddled society of people......

eagle11772
eagle11772

@ElijahSnow I'm a gay man.  And I don't trust people who describe themselves as bisexual, and I won't associate with them. 

eagle11772
eagle11772

@DeanKlovens I'm a gay man.  I agree with you.  And labeling things, EVERYTHING, is human nature because it makes this very complex world easier to understand.