Julianna Margulies defends playing a lesbian: ‘Who’s to say I haven’t had gay experiences’

Julianna Margulies at The Morning Show photo call

Julianna Margulies has defended her decision to play a lesbian on The Morning Show by suggesting that she might have had sexual experiences with women in the past.

The Emmy winner is currently starring in the Apple TV+ series as lesbian news reporter Laura Peterson alongside Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon – and she had no reservations about taking on a queer role.

During an appearance on the Just for Variety podcast, Julianna Margulies was asked if she was nervous about taking on a lesbian role when many people think LGBT+ roles should be played exclusively by queer actors.

“Who’s to say I haven’t had my own gay experiences?” Margulies replied. “We’re making assumptions.”

She continued: “I know there was some trepidation of ‘will lesbian actresses be angry?’ and I can tell you I would never, ever be angry if a lesbian played a straight woman.”

In The Morning Show, Margulies’ character Laura starts dating Bradley, who is played by Reese Witherspoon. The ER and The Good Wife star heaped praise on the show’s creators for bringing in a woman to upset the show’s “balance” instead of a man.

“You’ve got Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon playing these two very strong characters, and in the second season instead of bringing a man in to upset that balance they brought in a woman.

“Hats off to that, because the truth is women are more afraid of women,” she said.

“They dress for women. We don’t dress for men. We dress for each other. We want to impress each other much more. … It made so much sense, and I thought, ‘Ah, a show that gets women. This is great.'”

Julianna Margulies’ The Morning Show character has a complex 20-year back story

The actress also revealed that she was handed a 20-year backstory on her character by The Morning Show‘s Showrunner Kerry Ehrin, which detailed how Laura’s career was derailed when she was publicly outed as a lesbian.

“I really love that she’s 100 per cent comfortable in her own skin and has no ulterior motives,” Margulies said of her character.

She continued: “It’s almost like she’s the lens of the audience and the audience gets to watch these people absolutely spiralling down in front of your eyes but you sort of see it through Laura’s and Laura’s done all the work on herself to get completely comfortable with who she is in her sexuality to have gone back to field work in journalism and really earned her stripes the right way to get to where she is in her career, which is at the top.”

Julianna Margulies is just the latest actor to weigh into the contentious debate around whether queer roles should be played exclusively by queer actors.

Queer actor Kristen Stewart has said it’s fine for straight actors to take on queer roles – as long as they’re willing to put in the work.

Meanwhile, countless straight and cis actors have won acclaim – and awards – for taking on LGBT+ roles, much to the disdain of many in the queer community.