There are a lot of celebrities on this list that you are guaranteed to recognize. Chances are that in the role you recognize them from, they probably were playing a straight character. After all, call me crazy but I am pretty sure Juno isn't about a lesbian relationship.
These 20 women have come out in the past as either being openly lesbian, bi-sexual or have had some intimate experiences with women that are well worth documenting. While some of them are no longer with a woman, others are happily married to their own gender. You’ll even read about one celebrity who came out as being more into women, married a fellow male celebrity, and then divorced him after a year and started dating a woman! Don’t worry though, she just gave birth to her son…named Thor.
Speaking of superheroes, we've even got an actress whose new film Suicide Squad I bet you're dying to see, as well as some former X-Men! With a range from Academy Award winners, to a childhood star I know you’ll recognize, to television stars that you are probably going to go home and watch this week, there is something in here for everyone. At least unless you're a guy and want to try landing a date.
While there are instances in which some of these actresses do get to play a character that is a lesbian, those roles are not nearly as common. Many of these names may shock you, and you'll learn that just because an actress may have had a high-profile relationship (or marriage) with another celebrity (like Johnny Depp!) doesn’t mean that they don’t love getting down with their own gender!
20 Sarah Paulson
Sarah Paulson has been acting in different projects since the 90s but has recently found her niche in the television series American Horror Story. Paulson has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards and has taken home two Critic's Choice Television Awards. Though fittingly enough, Paulson plays a lesbian in one of the seasons and it is what gets her committed to a mental institute.
Paulson also appeared in the series Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, in which she plays a straight Christian woman, who at one point talks about how homosexuality is a sin. She was also involved in the acclaimed film 12 Years A Slave. As if this wasn’t proof that she was talented, Paulson has even appeared in Broadway! She was cast in The Glass Menagerie in 2005 and in Collected Stories in 2010.
Paulson was in a relationship with fellow actress Cherry Jones from 2004-2009, and it was reported in December 2015 that Paulson is currently dating another actress, Holland Taylor. Taylor, to her credit, has appeared in her own fair share of notable films, including Legally Blonde and The Truman Show.
Paulson’s most recent acting credit came as prosecutor Marcia Clark in the television series, The People V O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
19 Kate McKinnon
There is no doubt that Kate McKinnon is absolutely hilarious. Don’t believe me? There is no shortage of hilarious SNL clips that you’ll be able to track down where McKinnon has made impersonations of everyone ranging from Ellen to The Biebs.
Prior to making it on SNL, McKinnon was a member of The Big Gay Sketch Show where she came to fame partially for her character Fizwilliam, who was a British boy who had only one wish, to have a vagina.
McKinnon is not the first, nor will she be the last to try and make her break into Hollywood after having many successful years on SNL. Her first big attempt is the upcoming Ghostbusters movie, and while the film looks iffy at best, there is no doubting that Kate is still well deserving of our attention. That being said, no matter your stance on Ghostbusters, fans may be a much bigger fan of the other 2016 movie she’s appearing in, Finding Dory.
Twice, McKinnon has been nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Truly it is an an honour to get identified for recognition in a cast that is full of young and talented individuals. When she debuted on SNL back in 2014, she was the first openly lesbian cast member.
18 Maria Bello
Maria Bello is known for a variety of roles, and whether you know her from television (ER, Touch) or movies (A History of Violence, Thank You For Smoking etc…) there is no doubting that she is absolutely gorgeous.
Maria has one child who she had with her former boyfriend Dan McDermott, but the two stopped seeing each other after Maria started pursuing a romantic relationship with her very close friend Clare Munn.
Maria stated, “It didn’t occur to me, until that soul-searching moment in my garden, that we could perhaps choose to love each other romantically.” Maria went on to write a book, Whatever…Love is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves which released in 2015 and talks more about the openness she feels towards her relationships.
While you can imagine that this arrangement made things awkward for Dan, at least initially, the four of them (son, Dan, Clare and Maria) have posted family photos to social media in the past, so at least you know they’re all accepting of one another’s choices.
Maria has several films slated for a 2016 release, including The Confirmation which also stars Clive Owen and came out in March.
17 Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez is definitely tough as nails, at least on screen, as is evident by her role in The Fast and the Furious series and her character on the television show LOST. In the past Michelle has had a relationship with Vin Diesel, but don’t let that make you think she is just into men. In an interview back in 2013, she opened up to Entertainment Weekly, saying “I’ve gone both ways. I do as I please. I am too f–king curious to sit here and not try when I can. Men are intriguing. So are chicks….. I'm getting older. Eventually it's going to wrinkle up and I'm not going to be able to use it. I wanted to be honest about who I am and see what happens.”
Rodriguez has opened up in the past as well stating that she hopes her openness with her sexuality may encourage other people to do the same.
In the past, Michelle has also been rumoured to have engaged in a lesbian relationship with Kristanna Loken, with whom she worked with on the set of Bloodrayne back in 2006.
Michelle also engaged in a relationship back in early 2014 with Cara Delevingne who may or may not make an appearance lower in the list!
16 Evan Rachel Wood
Evan Rachel Wood never seems to be afraid to draw on her emotions to bring some real depth to the characters that she plays on screen. There is no shortage of variety for the roles she has played, but you may know her from True Blood, The Ides of March or The Life Before Her Eyes. Evan’s most acclaimed film was the drama Thirteen which came out in 2003 and earned her a Golden Globe nomination.
Evan has had relationships with males in the past, including being engaged to Marilyn Manson who she claims she was attracted to because of his use of black eyeliner. Evan came out via Twitter back in 2012 as being bisexual and has also gone onto state
“I’m more kind of like the guy when it comes to [dating] girls, I’m the dominant one…I’m opening the doors, I’m buying dinner. Yeah, I’m romantic…I’m constantly changing, I’m constantly growing. I think I’m a little controversial…I just try and keep some mystery, so hopefully people can’t really put their finger on it.”
Evan was also married to actor Jamie Bell, but the two got separated after two years of marriage. As you’re going to find out, she is not the last True Blood cast member to make this list.
15 Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster’s most iconic role may very well be in The Silence of the Lambs, but the actress has been going strong since her debut in 1976 with the film Taxi Driver (though there was a gap where she went to Yale).
Foster also has experience playing a rape survivor, which she did for the film The Accused, which ended up winning her an Academy Award and Golden Globe.
Foster’s talents do not just extend to acting, as she has also directed several films and for several episodes of Netflix original series including House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black.
Her most recent directional project, Money Monster, came out in May, 2016 and starred George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Jack O’Connell. While the film is hit or miss with critics, it has still surpassed the expectations for the budget set out. Granted when you come out at the same time as Captain America: Civil War, how much can you really be expecting?
Clearly Foster has found success in the film industry, let’s hope she is also finding it in love! Foster has been married to a former actress, Alexandra Hedison, since 2014. Jodie has had a previous relationship with Cydney Bernard which lasted from 1993-2008.
14 Jane Lynch
Jane Lynch is one of my personal favorite actresses, perhaps because she is absolutely hysterical in Role Models. She may be ‘straight’ in most of her roles, but Lynch is an open lesbian and was married to a clinical psychologist, Lara Embry, from 2010 until 2013. I guess being married to a psychologist is probably not the easiest thing to have to deal with! Lynch is also no stranger to success on television, having appearances on Weeds, Two and a Half Men and Glee.
Jane’s fantastic personality also made her a great choice for to host the television game show Hollywood Game Night. The series was renewed for its 4th season late in 2015, and as of now, has aired 49 episodes. Lynch has received two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program.
Lynch also appeared in the television series Dropping The Soap which is a satirical look at a failing soap opera and the cast and crew’s reaction to the show’s failure. The series was filmed in 2015 and is currently in post-production. As well as this, she stars in Late Bloomer coming out in 2016. The movie is a story about a man who experiences all the symptoms of puberty over a three-week period, talk about a funny premise! The film is also starring Maria Bello (see above) and J.K. Simmons.
13 Cynthia Nixon
When you make a name for yourself on a television show where you play a straight person, are you really going to be surprised that people don’t know you’re gay? Cynthia portrayed Miranda Hobbs in the show Sex in the City from 1998-2004, and also appeared in both of the movies. Cynthia also has several experiences on Broadway, and has even played Eleanor Roosevelt in the movie Warm Springs which came out in 2005. If this wasn’t talent enough, she has even won herself a Grammy award. Wait, what? That’s right! Cynthia took home an award for Best Spoken Word Album for An Inconvenient Truth.
You can next catch Cynthia portraying the iconic poet, Emily Dickinson, in the film A Quiet Passion which is coming out in 2016. Clearly Miranda is an accomplished, albeit busy woman.
Cynthia dated and was married to Danny Mozes until 2003, but shortly after they separated, Nixon started seeing Christine Marinoni and stated in 2007
“I don’t really feel I’ve changed. I’d been with men all my life, and I’d never fallen in love with a woman. But when I did, it didn’t seem so strange. I’m just a woman in love with another woman.”
12 Taylor Schilling
If you’re a fan of Taylor Schilling, you’ve probably seen her in the Netflix original show Orange is the New Black. While some fans love to hate on the character, Taylor clearly does a fantastic job and has been nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress – Television Series Drama. As well as that, Schilling was nominated for a Primetime Emmy back in 2014.
While her character starts the series out with Jason Biggs' character, she quickly remembers in prison why her character also used to sleep with women. Perhaps she took that advice to real life, as Schilling has been seen out and about with Carrie Brownstein. In case the name Carrie does not jump off the bat to you, she was the creator of the television show Portlandia.
Schilling dons her “straight hat” for the movie The Overnight in which she has a relationship with Adam Scott. Schilling also appeared in the critically acclaimed film Argo back in 2012. While her roles in big picture films is limited, you can imagine Taylor will get a lot more exposure when she is able to take off the Khaki’s and leave the prison yard behind. Let’s just hope Carrie will be with her for the ride!
11 Cara Delevingne
If you don’t know who Cara Delevingne is yet, you will soon, as she is one of the leads of the upcoming blockbuster Suicide Squad. Let’s just hope the film will do better with critics and fans than Batman V. Superman!
There is also no doubting her good looks, as the talented actress is a model and has twice won “Model Of The Year” at the British Fashion Awards. As a result, she’s modeled several prominent brands such as Burberry, Mulberry and Dolce & Gabanna.
While like Schilling, her filmography is not as long as others on this list, she also has appearances in Paper Towns and Pan (in which she plays a mermaid). Cara has come out as being openly bisexual in the past and has been in a relationship with Annie Clark since June 2015. Clark has been an active musician since 2003 and may be more recognizable by her stage-name St.Vincent.
As indicated above, Cara has also been in a relationship with Michelle Rodriguez in the past. While it does not look like her relationship with St.Vincent is going away anytime soon, you can imagine there is no shortage of women on this list that would be giving Cara a call if things ever went downhill!
10 Ruby Rose
Ruby Rose came out as a lesbian at the young age of 12. Unfortunately, Rose was taunted and abused growing up and has opened up about how she would grow up thinking about how badly she wanted to be a male. When she was asked about her desire to become transgender, Ruby stated, “I think at this stage I will stay a woman but … who knows. I’m so comfortable right now I feel wonderful about it, but I also fluctuate a lot.”
She may be most known for her role on Orange is the New Black in which she is far from straight, and has a pretty racy scene in the shower that includes Ms.Taylor Schilling!
Ruby’s name is just starting to catch on in Hollywood, and it definitely does not hurt that she has some great films coming out in 2017. While her orientation for these characters is not quite known, something tells me you’ll still be checking out the movies. This includes sequels to the xXx series and John Wick sequel. Ruby had a smaller role in the movie Around the Block that came out in 2013. Rose has had several relationships with women, including being engaged to supermodel Catherine McNeil, but the two are no longer together.
9 Raven Symone
That’s so Raven? More like that girl is so into exploring her sexuality, and more power to her! Raven made her debut when she was under the age of 5 on The Cosby Show and she had her first musical album That’s What Little Girls Are Made Of out before she was even 10! Music is clearly a passion for Raven, and she has also participated in four different soundtracks for Disney.
Raven first talked about her sexuality back in 2012, stating that her sexual orientation is hers and not something she wants publicly displayed. But over time Raven opened up about having an amazing and happy relationship with a female partner, as well as identifying as bisexual since the age of 12. Raven engaged in a three-year relationship with AzMarie Livingston, but they are unfortunately no longer together.
As well as That’s So Raven, Raven has appeared in roles that include Tinkey Bell, Kim Possible: A Sitch in Time, and two Dr. Dolittle films! While you will not see her face, Raven is currently working on an animated project, Animal Crackers, that comes out in 2017.
Raven is also appearing in the primetime drama Empire alongside Terrance Howard.
8 Sara Gilbert
Sara Gilbert is definitely a talented individual. Not only did she create, but she is also the co-host of the CBS daytime talk show The Talk. Haven’t heard of it? That’s definitely on you, because the series aired in 2010 and since then has had 1,127 episodes. Talk about keeping busy! Gilbert also appeared in 219 episodes of the hit television series Roseanne.
Sara’s most prominent straight role has to come from The Big Bang Theory in which she played Leslie Winkle. Gilbert had a relationship with Johnny Galecki when she was a teenager, but stated that it was during this relationship that she realized she was a lesbian. Let’s hope that didn’t hurt young Johnny’s ego too much! Kudos to the two of them for clearly handling the separation well enough that the two remained close enough to work together.
Sara had kept her sexuality a secret to Hollywood, but opened up about it as she geared up to premier her talk show. Gilbert had a relationship with television producer Allison Adler from 2001 until 2011 and they had two children together. Gilbert is currently married to Linda Perry, who is the former front woman of the band 4 Non Blondes and is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
7 Kristanna Loken
Kristanna Loken might not be acting as much anymore, but she still had a role in the Terminator franchise, and that’s always going to be pretty awesome. Prior to becoming an actress, Kristanna had aspirations to become a model, and given that she’s gorgeous, you can also imagine that would always be an option for her! As well as appearing in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), also took on the role of Taja in Mortal Kombat: Conquest which was a TV show that ran for 22 episodes. Kristanna was also the lead in the television series Painkiller Jane, but the series was cancelled after just 1 season and 22 episodes.
When asked about her orientation in the past, Loken stated, “I have dated and have had sex with men and women and have to say that the relationships I have had with certain women have been much more fulfilling, sexually and emotionally, than those with certain men.”
She must have felt something special with Noah Darby, who she married in 2008. Unfortunately, she divorced him in 2009 and started dating a woman. Since then, that relationship has also ended and now she is dating politician Antonio Villaraigosa. Kristinna gave birth to her first son in 2016 and named him Thor…Seriously.
6 Anna Paquin
Anna Paquin is married to her True Blood costar Stephen Moyer, and the two have two children together (and Paquin has two stepchildren). Paquin may bare it all in True Blood, but she’ll leave you speechless in a whole different way in The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendlar – in which she plays a social worker who tries to help smuggle out 2,500 Jewish children during World War 2.
As well as in the movie, Paquin plays it straight for her role in the X-Men series where she plays Rogue.
Paquin got married to Moyer in August 2010, but earlier that year Anna Paquin came out and opened up about being bisexual as part of the True Colors Fund, which was an advocacy group for LGBT Equality.
When asked why she agreed to appear in the video, Anna stated, “It wasn't like it was a big secret, it was just a cause I cared about and privately supported, but not one that I had ever had an opportunity to speak out about in a way that would be useful.”
She is one of the many stars on the list that used their fame as a platform to help make a difference to others.
5 Amber Heard
Amber Heard came out back in 2010 during GLAAD’s 25th-anniversary event. Though since then, she has met and been married to Johnny Depp, which perhaps explains her statement, “I don’t label myself one way or another – I have had successful relationships with men and now a woman. I love who I love, it’s the person that matters.”
Depp and Heard got divorced back in 2016 after it was reported that Depp was physically abusing Heard. She was granted a restraining order after showing photos of her battered face to police.
This is all the more tragic when you consider how inspirational Heard is. She is openly active in her role of supporting LGBT rights, and is a strong supporter of Habitat for Humanity (among other organizations).
Heard has no shortage of films in which she’s played it straight, including Zombieland, and Pineapple Express. You can also expect to see a lot more of Heard, as she was cast as Mera (Aquaman’s wife) in the upcoming Justice League series. One of Heard’s most recent films, London Fields, was filmed in 2015 and starred Johnny Depp, Billy Bob Thornton and Cara Delevingne.
Heard’s most prominent female relationship came with Tasya Van Ree, who is a talented photographer.
4 Wanda Sykes
Wanda Sykes is one of the most beloved female standup comedians of all time. Sykes was rightfully named by Entertainment Weekly as one of the funniest people in television back in 2004, and there is no shortage of evidence for that. Sykes has perhaps most prominent appeared in The New Adventures of Old Christine but also has had some time on Curb Your Enthusiasm. As well as this, she attempted her own television talk show The Wanda Sykes Show but unfortunately it only ran for one season (we can’t all be like Sara).
Wanda has also lent her memorable voice to Over The Hedge, Rio, and other animated projects. Sykes has shown her “straight” face in movies like Pootie Tang. Sykes married her partner Alex Niedbalski in 2008, but she did have a 7-year marriage to record producer Dave Hall that ended in 1998. She did not come out of the closet to her conservative parents until the age of 40! Unfortunately the incident did not go well, and her parents did not attend her wedding with Alex. Thankfully they have been able to reconcile since then, but you can imagine that was still an incredibly tough moment for Sykes.
3 Ellen Page
There are not many celebrities out there that made their “coming out” as prominent as Ellen Page. During a speech at the Human Rights Campaign back in 2014, Page opened up to the crowd that she was gay.
In 2015, she confirmed to the press that she was dating surfer Samantha Thomas. If you want to see Page explore her straight roots, perhaps look no further than Juno in which she plays a pregnant teenager. It was a well-received film, and Page was nominated for an Academy Award, a BAFTA, and a Golden Globe, among other prestigious awards for her portrayal. Page also appeared in the acclaimed film Inception back in 2010, in which she won an MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss. Granted when you’re kissing Joseph Gordon-Levitt, I imagine it’s pretty easy to get motivated!
Page also has some superhero experience, playing Kitty Pride in two X-Men films. Ellen also appears in the documentary (that she hosts) Gaycation, which came out in 2016.
If all of this wasn’t cool enough, Page did the voice acting, likeness, and motion capture for the videogame Beyond: Two Souls, which came out in 2013. Takes that whole "create your own character" thing to the next level, eh?
2 Lindsay Lohan
Lindsay Lohan has been in the public eye since she was a little girl, making her debut in Another World when she was 10, and then landing the memorable role in The Parent Trap when she was 11.
As you can imagine with Lindsay, she is one of the more unique cases on the list. While she has definitely had some prominent relationships with males, and mostly identifies as straight, she also had a high-profile relationship with Samantha Ronson in 2008 and 2009. However, in 2013 when asked about her sexual orientation, Lohan stated, “I know I’m straight. I have made out with girls before, and I had a relationship with a girl. […] I think I was looking for something different.”
Lohan is the only star on this list that claims she switched to being gay just to mix it up, but would you expect anything less from Lohan? If you want to see her play it straight, her best role is by far (in my opinion) Mean Girls. Lohan has also starred in the romantic comedy Just My Luck alongside Chris Pine which came out in 2006. Unfortunately luck was not on her side for the role, and the film bombed with critics. So much so, that Lohan was nominated for a Razzie award for Worst Actress of the year. Yikes!
1 Ellen DeGeneres / Portia de Rossi
I don’t think you’d be able to talk about openly lesbian members in Hollywood and not mention Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen came out to the world in 1997 while appearing on Oprah, and coincidentally enough, her character on the television show Ellen also came out of the closet. This made her the first openly lesbian actress to play an openly lesbian character on television. Though I’d be surprised if they decide to turn her character Dory into any type of sexuality role in the upcoming Finding Dory. You can also catch Ellen in a small appearance in the movie Coneheads in which she plays a swimming coach.
Ellen’s wife, Portia de Rossi, is no stranger to being in front of the camera. She was outstanding as the character Lindsay Bluth on Arrested Development, but has also appeared in Better off Ted, Ally McBeal, and Nip/Tuck. Portia is currently appearing on the political thriller Scandal for 38 episodes. Given that the series is getting fantastic reviews, it may be where you can find Portia for quite some time.
Clearly the two have a busy workload between them, kudos to them for being able to still take time to focus on the love and keeping their relationship healthy! They remain two of the most iconic, and inspirational celebrities in the LGBTQ community.