The 30-year-old actress spoke at The Economist‘s second-annual Pride and Prejudice Summit in New York and talked about the moment she first told a reporter the truth about her sexuality.
“I just answered honestly,” she said about her interview seven years ago with the website After Ellen. “I could tell by the look on this person’s face it was a big deal. My poor publicist. Then I realized the gravity of what I had done and why so many people — studio execs, agents, advisers — did not want this coming before my name. I became attached to a label. … So, I watched as I quickly became not actress Amber Heard but out lesbian Amber Heard.”
Apparently, the warnings by Hollywood execs carried some truth.
“It did impact my career; it was difficult,” she admitted. “It was not easy. I was the only one working in this way, so it was definitely difficult, because no one had done it. … I did that even though everyone told me it would end my career without a doubt.”
However, the risk was worth it. “I’ve never seen myself defined by the person I’m with. … I saw myself being in this unique position and having a unique responsibility,” she continued. “So, I bit the bullet.”
At the time, the actress already had credits in Zombieland and Pineapple Express under her belt, and her star was on the rise.
“As a leading lady, there’s a certain amount of wish fulfillment. I was asked ‘How is anyone going to invest in you romantically if they think you’re unavailable?’” she recalled. “I said, ‘Watch me do it.’”
Heard was dating artist and photographer Tasya van Ree at the time. The couple split in 2012 after four years together. Soon afterward, she moved on with her co-star in The Rum Diary (and eventual husband) Johnny Depp.
“When I hear someone comment about me coming out, I think it’s funny because I was never in,” Heard said, “in part because I was very stubborn, I guess, and also in part because I just didn’t feel it was wrong.”
She added, “I stand here now among many of my romantic leading lady peers who are out and fluid. I’m one of many now, and I’m working. … If every gay man that I know personally in Hollywood came out tomorrow, then this would be a nonissue in a month. We have a long way to go.”
Heard finalized her contentious divorce from Depp last year. She has since been linked to billionaire Elon Musk.
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