Jane Lynch: Mother, Wife, and All Around Lesbian Super Star
Jane Lynch has it all and she’s not afraid to enjoy it.
After stealing scenes as a memorable character actress in film and TV hits like Best In Show, The 40 Year Old Virgin, The L Word, and Two and Half Men for years, Lynch finally became a household name for her award-winning performance as Glee’s tracksuit-sporting antihero, Sue Sylvester.
But as Lynch reveals in her just-released memoir, Happy Accidents, and in an insightful Advocate interview, after spending most of her life feeling different and not living her truth, it’s her new role-- that of wife to Dr. Lara Embry and mother to two stepdaughters-- that has brought her the greatest joy.
As Lynch prepares to host the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards in September and is only the third woman in the show’s history to do so solo (she’s also a nominee again this year), she tells the Advocate it took a “Indigo Girls–inspired lesbian-songwriter grunge phase and a night of dope and despondency at 31 to make her hit Alcoholics Anonymous—and finally come out to her parents.”
Check out some of Lynch’s most fascinating excerpts from this month’s Advocate cover story:
When you met Lara at the NCLR gala, she was there with another woman. You didn’t know if they were together, but rumor has it you looked over and said, rather Sue Sylvester–like, “I could break that up.” [Laughs] At that point, I was willing to go in there and destroy a relationship in order to get what I wanted. But turns out I didn’t have to.
And in the end you married a family — not just Lara but her daughters too. Has motherhood changed you? It’s so funny, my instincts are, Well, I’m maternal in that I’m very empathetic, but children I never got or understood. I’ve always been more of a dog person. So yes, motherhood has changed me. I have this little girl, Haden, who lives with us. She’s 9 years old, and she’s witty and sardonic and has a huge heart. She’s a peacemaker and one of the wisest beings. Sometimes I feel like she’s taking care of me.
So now you’re 51 and married with kids, you’re remodeling your home, your career’s at its peak — do you have anxiety about losing it all? No, I don’t. I really don’t. I have a great deal of equanimity in my life, and I don’t have that feverish ambition or anxiety-filled need to go-go-go anymore. I really let things come and go. I don’t suffer much, which also means I don’t get crazy elated about anything. I’m not too high and I’m not too low. I’m kind of in a nice middle place.
Do you think Happy Accidents will surprise readers? I don’t know that I set out to surprise — I just told the story. I kind of carry myself with a confidence and a know-it-all-ness, so it might surprise people that there was actually a very scared child underneath the surface of that.
You’ve said you never did a coming-out interview because you’re a character actor and nobody really cares. But you cared a great deal. I did. That’s something that I hope will be helpful to people who are living in environments where gay people don’t exist or in environments that are hostile toward homosexuals. It’s good for people to know that you can actually overcome the adversity and find places and people like you. They’re out there.
In your book, you mention a lesbian love scene you had on The L Word with Cybill Shepherd. It was her first love scene with a woman. Of course, we were both clothed because no one wants to see us middle-aged broads flopping around in bed. [Laughs] I had one love scene under my belt, and I’m a lesbian in actual life, so I’m sure she expected me to take the lead, which I did. She was absolutely wonderful and open to the challenge. We both had a good time.
Cybill has two lesbian daughters, Ariel and Clementine, who you worked with. Did Cybill talk about LGBT issues on set? Oh, yeah. She marched in the [pride] parades before it was fashionable. And she gave me an award at the Orange County gay and lesbian center about two years ago, so she’s been out there. Clementine’s got a great mom who’s going to support her and whoever she loves.
Do you think being openly gay helps your work in any way? No. If anything, I think people respect me for not hiding. But what it comes down to is we’re all just people. And at the end of the day, I happen to go home to a woman. In Hollywood, all that matters is…do you do your job and do you do it well and is this somebody you want to have around? The place where it’s hardest is for lead actors and actresses who are supposed to be the love interest. Yeah, I think that’s still a tough arena — we haven’t cracked that yet.
Do you think that we’ll be able to crack that lead actor slash romantic love interest barrier? Oh, yeah, absolutely. I think everything’s just a matter of time. As much as we have our puritan roots in this country, and we kind of fight progress, we end up making the progress [happen]. What is it Winston Churchill said? Americans will always do the right thing after they’ve failed at everything else?
For more, check out the original article on Advocate.com now.