Following the backlash for her treatment of her "Glee" cast mates, Lea Michele says she's reflected on the past and thinks of her latest Broadway role as a way to introduce the world to "who I am now."
Michele was previously under fire in 2020 after Samantha Marie Ware, who had a recurring role in “Glee” Season Six, accused the actor of making her life a “living hell.” The actor apologized for her behavior in an Instagram post on June 3, 2020.
But in a recent conversation with Interview, the 36-year-old explained how she's made an effort to mend those relationships that were damaged on set.
"I did a lot of personal reach-outs, but the most important thing was for everybody to just take a step back," she told the publication. "More than anything, I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to apply the things that I’ve learned over the past 10-plus years in a positive way."
When she took on the lead role of Fanny Brice in "Funny Girl" in September 2022, Michele recalled telling herself, “If I can’t take my role as a leader offstage as important as my role as a leader onstage, then I shouldn’t do this show," which was "always" a struggle, she said.
The former "Glee" star noted that her other roles as a wife and mother make stepping into her new job "a huge responsibility" and a "very, very big achievement."
In response to interviewer Jeremy Harris clarifying that Michele now seems to be "trying to be a different person," she told him that what matters most is "how you make people feel" and understanding that "you have to put aside your feelings."
"The conversations that I’ve had behind the scenes with some people were incredibly healing and very eye-opening for me," she said. "I’ve been doing this for a really long time and I’m not going to ever blame anything on the things that I’ve been through in my life. But you also can’t ignore those experiences or deny them. They are a part of the patchwork of my life."
The criticism of Michele started in the aftermath of George Floyd's death when she tweeted, "George Floyd did not deserve this. This was not an isolated incident and it must end," with the hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter.
Within days, Ware responded to her remark.
Ware wrote, "LMAO REMEMBER WHEN YOU MADE MY FIRST TELEVISON GIG A LIVING HELL?!?! CAUSE ILL NEVER FORGET. I BELIEVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE THAT IF TOU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY YOU WOULD “SHIT IN MY WIG!” AMONGST OTHER TRAUMATIC MICROAGRESSIONS THAT MADE ME QUESTION A CAREER IN HOLLYWOOD..."
Dabier Snell, who guest starred on an episode of the show, also tweeted, “GIRL YOU WOULDNT LET ME SIT AT THE TABLE WITH THE OTHER CAST MEMBERS CAUSE ‘I DIDNT BELONG THERE’ F--- YOU LEA.”
In an Instagram post in 2020, Michele said that “whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused."
In a September 2022 interview with the New York Times, Michele opened up about the errors in her work style, though she declined to comment on the tweets.
“I have an edge to me,” she told the newspaper. “I work really hard. I leave no room for mistakes. That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots.”
“I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader,” she added. “It means not only going and doing a good job when the camera’s rolling, but also when it’s not. And that wasn’t always the most important thing for me.”