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'Bridgerton' star Golda Rosheuvel reveals a lesbian director once told her to stay in the closet

Known for playing the illustrious Queen Charlotte on the Netflix hit series, the 52-year-old openly gay actor opened up to TODAY about the incident.
Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Elizabeth in season one of "Bridgerton."
Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte in season one of "Bridgerton."LIAM DANIEL / Netflix
/ Source: TODAY

Last week, "Bridgerton" star Golda Rosheuvel — known for playing the illustrious Queen Charlotte on the Netflix hit series — revealed that a lesbian director once advised her to stay in the closet.

“We were talking about being out and proud and representation and whether I should say I was gay in interviews,” Rosheuvel told Marc Melkin on his "Just for Variety" podcast. “And it was an absolute no: ‘You absolutely shouldn’t do that. It could or it would ruin your career as an actor.’

The openly gay actor sat down with TODAY backstage at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in New York City on Saturday, April 30, to reflect about that incident, and why she feels it's so important for her to retell the story years later.

Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte in episode 105 of "Bridgerton."
Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte in episode 105 of "Bridgerton."Netflix

"It’s not an unusual story, especially in the acting industry," she told TODAY. "People are still told that it will damage their career. It’s a real thing. But for me, it was just so interesting that (the director) was out. I didn’t really understand the ask or the definitive 'no' that she was talking about, because there seemed to be this difference. There’s a private life and there’s a public life and never shall the two meet."

Before becoming a household figure thanks to the success of "Bridgerton," the 52-year-old actor was mostly known for her acclaimed theater work in the West End, leading numerous celebrated productions including "Macbeth" and "Othello" (where she played a lesbian Othello.)

"But for me, it was always about being authentic," she said on why she refused to stay closeted. "It was always about being who I am and what I want my journey to be. My parents brought me up to know that anything was possible, and in the tough times, to grit down, bite down, move forward as best as you can. So I feel very lucky in that respect, that I've had that positive journey. It's not like that for everyone."

Human Rights Campaign 2022 Greater New York Dinner
Golda Rosheuvel attends the Human Rights Campaign 2022 Greater New York Dinner on April 30, 2022 in New York City. Santiago Felipe / Getty Images

Rosheuvel — who has been with her partner, Shireen Mula, for nine years — explained she isn't blindly advocating for everyone to simply come out. But she wishes Hollywood was more accepting of actors to be out earlier in their career ... if that's what they want.

"Coming out after the success, it's more of a 'wow' moment than somebody who's just getting on with their life, who happens to be queer and who wants to come out as they get higher and higher," she said. "I think we have to stop the 'wow' moment. We don't need it. It's not necessary."

Rosheuvel was in New York City over the weekend to receive the equality award from the Human Rights Campaign, an award that "recognizes an individual or organization that embodies the passion and dedication to advancing LGBTQ+ equality," according to the organization.

"To be able to speak my truth honestly, is everything to that little girl, that little boy, that non-binary, trans kid who’s struggling and who's in the darkness," she said on why she tells her story. "They haven’t stepped into their light yet and to be able to see somebody who explains the journey, a situation that happened to them where they were at a crossroads."

"I was told not to come out," she said. "I was told that it would damage my career somehow, but me being me, my authentic truth was the way that I needed to go. I am out, proud and will continue to do so."