Lea Michele thinks internet rumors about her being illiterate are “sad.”
The Scream Queens alum spoke to The New York Times about taking over the role of Fanny Brice in Broadway’s Funny Girl starting Sept. 6. At one point in the interview, the 36-year-old actress addressed online rumors that she can’t read or write. (Several viral TikToks and social media threads in recent years pushed a conspiracy theory that Michele never learned to read, with people claiming to show “evidence.”)
“I went to Glee every single day; I knew my lines every single day. And then there’s a rumor online that I can’t read or write? It’s sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn’t be the case,” said Michele.
Michele previously joked about the rumors when they bubbled up back in March 2018. She set the record straight with a sense of humor, tweeting to a fan who said she must be “laughing her head off right now” about it: “Loved READING this tweet and wanted to WRITE you back? literally laughing out loud at all this? love you!!! ? ❤️.”
In her Times interview, Michele also discussed her return to the spotlight after her controversy in 2020, when former Glee costar Samantha Marie Ware accused her of tormenting her on the set with “traumatic microaggressions.” (Michele apologized at the time, saying in a statement, “I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people.”)
The actress did not comment on any specifics of Ware’s allegations, saying she doesn’t “feel the need to handle things” via the media, according to the Times. Michele added that she went through an “intense time of reflection” and now feels “more ready than I ever have before, both personally and professionally” for her return to the stage.
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She added that her perfectionist work style could sometimes cause her not to realize how she affected others: “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 blindspots.”
“I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader. It means not only going and doing a good job when the camera’s rolling, but also when it’s not,” explained Michele. “And that wasn’t always the most important thing for me.”