You know what they say: behind every great man is a great woman … and behind her there may have been another woman at some point. For many famous lesbians, there was once a marriage to a man before they came out publicly. Here are ten notable examples, along with the men who didn’t see it coming.
Portia De Rossi (Mel Metcalfe)
The “Arrested Development” star was married to the very famous sound engineer Mel Metcalfe from 1996 to 1999. She came out as gay in 2005 and then started playing house with spunky television host, Ellen DeGeneres, her current partner since 2008.
Lauren Morelli (Steve Basilone)
“Orange Is the New Black” writer Lauren Morelli realized she was gay while penning the overtly sexual girl-on-girl Netflix original in 2012, leading to an amicable divorce from her then husband in 2014. Upon announcing her switching of teams, Morelli also announced her relationship with Samira Wiley, star of “Orange Is the New Black.” What a coincidence!
Billie Jean King (Larry King)
Famous tennis player Billie Jean King was married to Larry King for 20 years before coming out publicly in 1981 after having a long affair with her secretary. However cliche, she was the first female athlete to come out publicly.
Frida Kahlo (Diego Rivera)
The artist married in 1929, divorced and remarried painter Diego Rivera while having a series of extramarital affairs with women. Seems Kahlo was a bit of a free spirit until her death in 1954.
Anne Heche (Coleman Laffoon)
Before her marriage to cameraman Coleman Laffoon, the “Psycho” actress was in a well-known, long term lesbian relationship with Ellen DeGeneres from 1997 until 2000. However, all of her other relationships have been with men. Heche had a child with Laffoon before their divorce in 2007 and now has another child in her current relationship with James Tupper.
Julie Cypher (Lou Diamond Phillips)
Cypher was Assistant Director on the movie “The Film Power,” which starred Lou Diamond Phillips, whom she was married to from 1986 until 1990. She was then in a relationship with Melissa Etheridge in the ’90s until 2000. She’s currently married to a man named Matthew Hale, but she gave birth to two children with Etheridge, all thanks to David Crosby. How many women can say that? Possibly a lot.
Wanda Sykes (Dave Hall)
The comedian/actress was married in 1991 to record producer Dave Hall, which ended in divorce in 1998, although Sykes didn’t come out publicly as a lesbian until 2008. One year later, she married her partner, Alex, who is a total bombshell. Good for you, Wanda.
Meredith Baxter (multiple)
One of our favorite fictitious mothers was Mrs. Keaton on “Family Ties,” but Meredith Baxter wasn’t always so traditional after having four marriages since 1966, the first three of which were with three different men. In 1972, she starred in TV series “Bridget Loves Bernie” across from her ex-husband David Birney, which was canceled in 1973. She had children with her first two husbands before coming out in 2009, then married her live-in partner Nancy Locke in 2013.
Alice Walker (Melvyn Roseman Leventhal)
Author of “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker was married to Melvyn Rosenman Leventhal from 1967 until 1976. Later in the ’90s, she had a relationship with R&B artist Tracy Chapman. She has one daughter with Leventhal.
Angelina Jolie (Jenny Shimizu)
OK, this one’s a little backwards, but before she was ever Mrs. Billy Bob Thorton or Mrs. Pitt, Angelina was publicly in a relationship with actress Jenny Shimizu in the late ’90s. This was just before her wet and wild “Gone in 60 Seconds” days. You know, the days we try to forget.