Ten years ago, Portia de Rossi feared that she might never much of a personal or professional life because she was suffering from a severe eating disorder and hiding her sexuality from everyone in her life. Luckily she’s been able to recover into a healthy woman (both mentally and physically) by being nothing other than the woman she is — a talented comedic actress, a lesbian and a woman who has struggled with her weight — and being honest about it. That’s why she makes a perfect cover model for Bust magazine.
Portia is on the cover of the February/March Sex issue of the feminist pop culture magazine, and in her inside interview, she opens up about her feelings on finally seeing herself as a sexual person. Here are a few excerpts:
On how her eating disorder “intersected” with her sexuality:
I had two major things going on in my life. One was that I realized I was gay after a brief marriage to a man. And I had just started this big career that was all-important. It felt like [my eating disorder] was more driven by the desire to succeed as an actress, but it also meant hiding my sexuality. I felt like I was hiding it from the public, but what I was really doing was just starving it away. I didn’t want to feel like a sexual being. I didn’t want to think about sex. I didn’t want to think about people being sexually attracted to me. All of it was too difficult to deal with.
On how other people thought of her as “an example of idealized female beauty”:
Well, I mean, clearly I didn’t. And that was a problem, because I didn’t want to play, like, the provocative temptress. I don’t like that character, and it’s really not because of my sexuality, it’s more because I’m not an exhibitionist in a sexual sense. For me, sex is very private. I’m a little prudish, and I’m a little old-fashioned in that sense. I now love being a sexual person, but I don’t like to show it on the outside. I don’t lead with sexuality, and I don’t like it when other people do, men or women. It’s just not part of my makeup.
On married life:
I love being married. I’ve never been happier in my whole life. It feels completely different than just being a couple. Being married feels like having a real partnership. We make decisions together, and I think we’ve both become less selfish. Before, I would think about what was good for me, and now I think about how decisions will affect us as a couple. I can’t say enough good things about it. And I don’t know why it’s so different. But it just is.
The rest of the interview includes tidbits on how her relationship with Ellen was initially overshadowed by the gossip that surrounded another new couple at the time — Brad and Angelina — and her views on feminism and how they fit into finding good female parts on TV. Grab your own copy, on newsstands now.