Lea Michele Said She Was Under “A Lot of Pressure” and Dealing With “Intense Life Trauma” While on ‘Glee’
Lea Michele will never live down her infamous Glee reputation. In a recent interview, the actor revisited her controversial behavior and claimed that she reached out to her former castmates to make amends.
Michele was asked by playwright Jeremy O. Harris in an interview for Interview magazine about the backlash sparked in June 2020 by Glee cast member Samantha Ware, who accused Michele of making her time on the FOX musical series “a living hell,” citing “traumatic microaggressions” from the series star.
Michele, currently starring in Broadway’s Funny Girl, answered, “I think these past two years have been so important for everybody to just sit back and reflect.”
She added, “I did a lot of personal reach-outs. But the most important thing was for everybody to just take a step back.”
Michele never identified who she spoke with following the incident; however, Ware was supported by many of Michele’s former colleagues on Glee after speaking out, including Heather Morris, Amber Riley and Alex Newell, plus Michele’s The Mayor co-star Yvette Nicole Brown.
Michele went on to say, “At the end of the day, what matters the most is how you make people feel. 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.”
The actor explained that her role in the Broadway show comes with “so much pressure and a huge amount of responsibility,” given that she was brought in as a replacement after Beanie Feldstein exited the musical two months early following her lukewarm run.
Speaking about her time on Glee, Michele recalled, “I think about what the Glee days were like, 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,” the last part seemingly referencing the death of her co-star and boyfriend Cory Monteith. Michele says now, “at 36 years old as a wife and mother,” she values her role “as a leader offstage “as much as her role “as a leader onstage.”
Michele added, “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. But you also can’t ignore those experiences or deny them. They are a part of the patchwork of my life.”
Following Ware’s comments, the actor apologized for her behavior via a social media post. She previously addressed the controversy while speaking with The New York Times, saying, “I have an edge to me. I work really hard. I leave no room for mistakes. That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots.”
Regardless of her past, it’s clear that Michele isn’t interested in letting anybody rain on her parade.