Laverne Cox explains why she lied about her age for two decades: ‘I was having such anxiety’

Laverne Cox at iHeartRadio Z100 Jingle Ball 2021

Laverne Cox has revealed why she stopped lying about her age for the first time in two decades.

The Orange Is the New Black star explained she is finally embracing her age as she prepares to turn 50 on 29 May.

During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Laverne Cox revealed that she first began to hide her age in 2000.

“I was 28 years old and I was dating a guy that was 21 and he broke up with me because he said I was too old,” she said. “And I was like, ‘Oh, if I’m too old, I’ll just be 22’.”

After two years, the Promising Young Woman star decided to just refer to herself as “over 21” because she “didn’t feel comfortable” about lying.

She continued: “So I was ‘over 21’ from 2002 to like 2019. And then IMDb figured out my real age, and then, so it started appearing places and it was freaking me out. I was having such anxiety.”

Laverne Cox ‘thought sky would fall’ when she revealed real age

After talking with her therapist about her age being revealed, Laverne Cox began to work through her insecurities about her age.

She told DeGeneres: “I started unpacking these stories about being older. The stories were that I wasn’t hireable, I wasn’t datable, I wasn’t effable over a certain age – apparently, the age was like 27 [or] 28 — and then I worked through all that.”

Cox recalled openly saying her age for the first time at a January 2019 speaking engagement in Texas as she joked: “I thought the sky was going to fall, and then people were just like … it was like nothing.

Laverne Cox starring as Sophia Burset in Orange Is The New Black (Netflix)

“It was a reminder that, in our heads, we might have shame about something and it’s, like, terrible and awful … and no one really cares. It’s all in our heads.”

The Jolt star then proclaimed: “So I am proudly 49, about to turn 50 and I’m so excited and happy to be able to own that.”

Both DeGeneres and the audience applauded Cox as she added: “To be real, I am a Black actress over 40 in Hollywood, so lying about my age is not completely insane.”

DeGeneres then responded: “But you can say that about anything … and it just helps more people. It helps ageism — that is real in Hollywood. And the more honest we are and … secrets are just terrible.”