Laverne Cox Says She's 'So Excited' About Turning 50 and No Longer 'Lying About My Age'

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Laverne Cox is embracing 50!

During a Tuesday appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the Inventing Anna actress, 49, said she is no longer afraid of hiding her age as her May 29 birthday approaches.

On the show, Cox told host Ellen DeGeneres that she first started lying about her age in 2000. "I was 28 years old and I was dating a guy that was 21 and he broke up with me because he said I was too old. And I was like, 'Oh, if I'm too old, I'll just be 22,' " she confessed.

For the next two years, Cox said she referred to herself as 22 years old "everywhere" but eventually "didn't feel comfortable" continuing to lie about her age. That's when she began calling herself "over 21."

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Laverne Cox
Laverne Cox

The Ellen Show

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"So I was 'over 21' from 2002 to like 2019," she told DeGeneres, 64. "And then IMDb figured out my real age, and then, so it started appearing places and it was freaking me out. I was having such anxiety."

Upon addressing this with a therapist, Cox said she realized her insecurities about her age. "I started unpacking these stories about being older," she explained. "The stories were that I wasn't hireable, I wasn't datable, I wasn't effable over a certain age – apparently the age was like 27 [or] 28 — and then I worked through all that."

Cox recalled openly saying her age for the first time at a January 2019 speaking engagement in Texas, telling DeGeneres, "I thought the sky was going to fall, and then people were just like … it was like nothing."

The Ellen DeGeneres Show
The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

That's when she came to a major realization. "It was a reminder that, in our heads, we might have shame about something and it's, like, terrible and awful … and no one really cares. It's all in our heads," Cox said.

She then proclaimed, "So I am proudly 49, about to turn 50 and I'm so excited and happy to be able to own that."

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Both DeGeneres and the audience applauded Cox. The host said, "It's horrible to have secrets!" to which Cox replied, "To be real, I am a Black actress over 40 in Hollywood, so lying about my age is not completely insane."

DeGeneres then responded, "But you can say that about anything … and it just helps more people. It helps ageism — that is real in Hollywood. And the more honest we are and … secrets are just terrible."