Lea Michele Says She Had a Lot of 'Healing and Very Eye-Opening' Conversations After Glee Backlash
Lea Michele is making amends with her Glee costars.
The Funny Girl lead, 36, revealed that she reached out to former costars following the 2020 controversy surrounding her alleged behavior on the set of the Fox musical series.
"I think these past two years have been so important for everybody to just sit back and reflect," she told Interview Magazine. "I did a lot of personal reach-outs. But the most important thing was for everybody to just take a step back."
Michele shared how she has moved forward since the controversy came to light.
"At the end of the day, what matters the most is how you make people feel. And you have to put aside your feelings," she explained. "The conversations that I've had behind the scenes with some people were incredibly healing and very eye-opening for me."
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"I've been doing this for a really long time and I'm not going to ever blame anything on the things that I've been through in my life," she added. "But you also can't ignore those experiences or deny them. They are a part of the patchwork of my life."
The Scream Queens alum noted how she hoped taking on the role of Fanny Brice in Funny Girl would allow people to see her in a new light.
"When I got the call that I was going to play Fanny Brice, I said, 'Okay, 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.'"
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Part of those life changes include becoming a mother to 2-year-old Ever Leo with husband Zandy Reich.
"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,'" she recalled. "Because that was always a struggle for me."
She added, "So to have this opportunity now at 36 years old as a wife and a mother — to step into this job that comes with so much pressure and a huge amount of responsibility — was a very, very big achievement for me."
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Glee ran on Fox from 2009 to 2015. In June of 2020, Michele issued a public apology to her former costar, Samantha Marie Ware, who claimed Michele made her life on set a "living hell" in a tweet.
A lengthy statement from Michele, shared with PEOPLE at the time, said: "One of the most important lessons of the last few weeks is that we need to take the time to listen and learn about other people's perspectives and any role we have played or anything we can do to help address the injustices that they face."
Another section of the apology read, "While I don't remember ever making this specific statement and I have never judged others by their background or color of their skin, that's not really the point. What matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people."
"Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused. We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect on my own shortcomings."
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After the apology, Michele's Glee costar Heather Morris chimed in on the allegations, writing on Twitter, "... was she unpleasant to work with? Very much so; for Lea to treat others with the disrespect that she did for as long as she did, I believe she SHOULD be called out."
She then admitted "it's also on us because to allow it to go on for so long without speaking out is something else we're learning along with the rest of society."