Heather Matarazzo, who co-stars as Anne Hathaway’s best friend in the The Princess Diaries 2, opening this weekend, has just come out of the closet–sort of. “I met the person I’m so madly crazy in love with,” she told the New York Daily News in an article today. Although she declined the name the object of her affection, she did reveal the gender when she said “She’s not famous yet. She will be. She wants to do musical theater and stage, which is not as demoralizing as the movie business is.”
The 21-year-old actress got her start as the lead in the critically-acclaimed film Welcome to the Dollhouse in 1995 when she was only eleven years old, playing a character who was cruelly teased by classmates and called “lesbo,” among other things. She has had steady work since then in a variety of critical and commercial favorites, including The Princess Diaries, Scream 3, and recent film festival hit Saved!, co-starring Jena Malone, Mandy Moore and Macauley Caulkin.
Regarding Matarazzo’s statement, Saved! director Brian Dennely tells the Daily News that “Any time a person can be honest with who they are it’s a good thing,” and that he believes “any repercussions will be short-lived. Heather’s lucky because she doesn’t fall into the typical Hollywood actress category. She’s a true Hollywood individual.”
Although Matarazzo has not publicly defined her sexual orientation, her decision to be open about the gender of the person with whom she’s in love is a bold move because so few gay or bisexual actresses have done this during the early part of their careers. The fact that Matarazzo tends to be more of a character actress and has established acting credibility in independent films will likely make that easier, but Matarazzo is still treading relatively new ground here.
Her timing couldn’t be better, though. With a handful of younger actresses like Matarazzo and Tammy Lynn Michaels coming out, later-career actresses like Jodie Foster and Portia de Rossi wearing matching wedding rings with their partners, and shows like Ellen’s talk show and The L Word on TV, coming out is no longer the career killer it once was.
The more actresses who are willing to casually come out like Matarazzo has just done, the easier it will become.