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Lea Michele Had ‘Healing, Eye-Opening’ Conversations With ‘Glee’ Costars After Bullying Claims

todayFebruary 8, 2023

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Lea Michele has had something of a personal renaissance in the past year, stepping back into positive public opinion via her critically acclaimed portrayal of Fanny Brice in Broadway’s ongoing revival of Funny Girl. And in a new interview published Tuesday (Feb. 7), the 36-year-old actress opened up about how the gig has given her a chance to introduce the world to the new her, revealing that she had personal conversations with her Glee costars in the aftermath of explosive allegations of on set bullying and racism made against her in 2020.


“I think these past two years have been so important for everybody to just sit back and reflect,” she told playwright Jeremy O. Harris for Interview Magazine. “I did a lot of personal reach-outs. But the most important thing was for everybody to just take a step back.”

“More than anything, I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to apply the things that I’ve learned over the past 10-plus years in a positive way,” she continued. “What I told myself stepping into Funny Girl was, ‘If I can’t take my role as a leader offstage as important as my role as a leader onstage, then I shouldn’t do this show.’”

The Scream Queens alum described feeling like her “life got turned upside down in so many ways” during the 2020 controversy, which saw several members of the Glee cast coming forward with claims of inappropriate, abusive behavior from the show’s leading lady. Season six actress Samantha Ware characterized Michele’s treatment of her as a series of “traumatic microaggressions.”

Michele later posted a public apology, saying that, while she didn’t remember the incidents described by Ware, “what matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people.”

“At the end of the day, what matters the most is how you make people feel,” the Scream Queens alum reflected in the new interview. “And you have to put aside your feelings. The conversations that I’ve had behind the scenes with some people were incredibly healing and very eye-opening for me … When I got the call that I was going to play Fanny Brice, I said, ‘OK, this could be really big for my career, but it’s also helpful to have this opportunity to introduce people to who I am now.’”

“I think about what the Glee days were like, just working so hard and having such pressure on my shoulders to keep that show afloat, and navigating through that whole experience at such a young age while also dealing with a really intense life trauma that happened at the same time,” she added, likely referencing the shocking death of her costar and boyfriend Cory Monteith. “This is such a different experience. I’m finding so much joy in the connections I’m having with the people around me. “

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