A past heartbreak. Julie Bowen revealed that she once fell in love with another woman, but still identifies as straight since the relationship didn't work out.
"The idea that we lead with, 'How do you identify?' [is wrong]," the Modern Family alum, 52, said while speaking with Becca Tilley during the Monday, October 31, episode of her "Quitters" podcast. "I'm straight, I've always been straight. I was in love with a woman for a while, but she didn't love me back."
Bowen added that while the woman in question was a lesbian, her feelings were unreciprocated. "It never really took off so I never really had to challenge my concept of my sexuality," the Horrible Bosses actress explained, before stating that she doesn't think someone's sexual orientation should be "the first thing we know" about someone.
Tilley, 34, echoed those sentiments, revealing that she felt "stressed" by the pressure to label her sexuality after making her relationship with Hayley Kiyoko public earlier this year. "I never even thought about a label," the "Scrubbing In" podcast host recalled. "Hayley and I met and we just had this instant connection and I just fell in love with her so fast that I just never went into this [thought about], 'What does it mean? What is my label? How do I identify?'"
Though Tilley explained that labels can give many people "validation and comfort," it had the opposite effect on her.
"I'm just attracted to people," the Bachelor season 19 alum said. "I'm attracted to men and I'm attracted to women and [I'm] especially [attracted to] Hayley, who I fell in love with."
Tilley continued: "I don't have an issue with coming out, I just hope one day people don't have to come out. It causes a lot of stress ... and life is already really hard. Falling in love should just be a beautiful and natural thing that people shouldn't have to explain to anybody."
Tilley and the "Curious" singer, 31, hit it off immediately after meeting in 2018. However, the twosome decided to keep their relationship out of the spotlight until May 2022, when Tilley appeared in Kiyoko's "For the Girls" video. At the release party, the couple publicly sealed things with a kiss.
"Becca mentioned they’ve been together for four years and she was just ready to share it,” an insider told Us Weekly about the romantic moment at the time, adding that they were both “very happy” at the bash. “It was Hayley’s night but it became Becca’s night too because she came out publicly with the kiss."
Bowen, for her part, married real estate investor Scott Phillips in September 2004. They welcomed son Oliver in April 2007 and twin boys, Gus and John, in May 2009. The Boston Legal alum and Phillips called it quits in February 2018 and their divorce was finalized in September of that year.