Portia de Rossi: THAT GIRL!
By Shana Naomi Krochmal
And her experience trying to produce gay stories for TV mirrors that gap between a powerful fantasy and the sometimes more uncomfortable reality. “I had a project that I was shopping around for TV called Butch and Fay, about two gay people, very famous actors who marry each other for the sake of their career,” she says. “That happened a lot in the past and probably still exists today. Every single person that I brought it to was kind of titillated by the idea but ultimately shut it down, saying that being gay in the industry just wasn’t an issue anymore. I know it’s not very popular to bring this issue up, but it’s still very difficult for actors to get certain types of roles. We need to hear it some more until things change.”
The other half of the message that needs to be heard, she says, is pretty straightforward: “I really, honestly think that anybody who is openly gay and visible is powerful. It doesn’t matter what you do, you are impacting people.”
De Rossi’s smart, articulate self-awareness took center stage during her graceful coming out in 2005 and her 2008 splashy-yet-intimate wedding to DeGeneres, which included a marriage equality media tour featuring the cover of People and a full-hour fete on the comfy perch of Oprah’s couch. “We’ve settled into happily married life,” de Rossi says. “We really support each other in whatever we’re doing and we’re incredibly happy, which is why you don’t see us in the press so much. There’s no drama to report.”
But don’t expect them to follow a more modern famous-family script. “There comes some pressure in your mid-30s, and you think, Am I going to have kids so I don’t miss out on something that other people really seem to love? Or is it that I really genuinely want to do this with my whole heart? I didn’t feel that my response was ‘yes’ to the latter. You have to really want to have kids, and neither of us did. So it’s just going to be me and Ellen and no babies -- but we’re the best of friends and married life is blissful, it really is. I’ve never been happier than I am right now.”