As one of the stars of the musical Fox hit "Glee," Darren Criss knows exactly who makes up his fanbase. It's either those screaming teenage girls or their mothers who watch with them. "What's funny is that the moms always feel like they have to qualify everything. 'I'm here for my daughter. Can I get a picture?,'" the 24-year-old reveals to Details magazine. "You don't have to apologize for liking 'Glee.' My joke is the fans are either 16 or 60. What I wouldn't give to have someone come back who wasn't a mom or a teenager."
One of those moms -- who I assume really was excited to meet Criss on behalf of her children -- is former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. The Republican is known for her opposition to gay rights, so it's surprising she would approve of a show with several gay characters, including that of Criss. "I never let my politics supersede my manners," Criss — who's straight in real life -- notes. "She came up with her husband and was sweet as can be. She was like, 'My kids love the show. I don't watch it myself, but I'd love it if you could sign these postcards.' It dawned on me that she didn't know what the hell 'Glee' was."
However, plenty of so-called Gleeks do follow the weekly adventures of the New Directions. "Glee" averages more than 10.3 million viewers in its third season, and the cast has produced a dozen albums, many of them chart-toppers. Between that and being cast in his first Broadway show, taking over Daniel Radcliffe's role in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," Criss admits that life has been a whirlwind for him lately. "Hollywood is a strange, strange thing," he says. "I feel like I've been invited to a very exclusive ball and I'm just trying to make nice with everybody and hope that if they kick me out they'll at least give me a ride home."
In one very surreal moment, Criss describes meeting not one but two big-name singers. "I never thought I would meet Mariah Carey, but I really never thought I'd be introduced to her by Whitney Houston. She's like, 'Hey, baby, this is Mariah,'" Criss explains. "I'm like, 'I know. I'm Darren. I don't know what I'm doing here.'"
Read more about Darren in the new Details magazine, on newsstands January 17.