Ellen Page: ‘I’m embarrassed to say how closeted I was … ‘I get sad thinking about it, honestly, because it was painful’
It’s been 19 months since Ellen Page stood on a stage in Las Vegas at a Human Rights Campaign event and told the large crowd that she is gay.
Since then, the actress has become an outspoken LGBTI activist and even recently confronted Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz on his anti-gay views.
But for Page, who plays a lesbian in the new film Freeheld, it is still painful when she thinks of her former closeted self.
‘I’m embarrassed to say how closeted I was,’ she tells BuzzFeed News in an interview posted earlier today.
‘I get sad thinking about it, honestly, because it was painful. And painful for people I was in relationships with. Just all-around destructive. Intolerance and closetedness is just a ripple effect of shit.’
Page, 28, was still a teenager when she was thrust into the limelight with an Oscar-nominated performance in the 2007 film Juno. After that, she made an effort to hide the women she was dating by, for example, leaving a hotel by a different entrance and ‘noooo public interaction.’
She remembers, with disgust, saying things like: ‘Go in the bathroom when room service comes’ or ‘This is my friend.’
She says now: ‘I feel bad about it. And I did start feeling really guilty about it. And I think that I should feel guilty about it.’
Page came out shortly before filming of Freeheld, a film close to her heart which she is also producing.
It tells the true story of police detective Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) who finds out she has terminal lung cancer and seeks to leave her benefits to her partner Stacie Andree (Page).
The prospect of making the film helped Page come out publicly.
‘First of all, I didn’t want to be a closeted person anymore,’ she says. ‘But then also: “What, are you going to not be an out gay actor when you shoot a movie like that?” Of course not. And it is people like Stacie and Laurel that inspire you.’
She found making the film to be freeing.
‘It was a special experience for me personally: what it represented in my life. It was nice to play a gay person. I’m gay! It was nice to fall in love with a person onscreen who is the kind of person that you’d fall in love with.’