Sophia Bush Wrote a Moving Essay on Coming Into Queerness Later In Life

In a profoundly poignant piece, the actress identified herself as queer for the first time and confirmed her relationship with Ashlyn Harris.

Sophia Bush Wrote a Moving Essay on Coming Into Queerness Later In Life

On Thursday, Glamour magazine published a poignant essay by Sophia Bush in which the actress confirmed speculation that she’s in a relationship with former soccer player and gold medalist, Ashlyn Harris—and perhaps, most importantly, identifies herself as queer for the first time.

“I don’t know how else to say it other than: I didn’t see it until I saw it,” Bush wrote of falling for Harris. “And I think it’s very easy not to see something that’s been in front of your face for a long time when you’d never looked at it as an option and you had never been looked at as an option.” The rumor mill has steadily churned about the pair since news of Harris’ divorce made headlines in September 2023. However, neither Bush nor Harris have publicly confirmed their relationship. Until now.

According to Bush, the pair had become close over the summer as both faced down their respective marriage woes and the emotional aftermaths. Bush filed for divorce from her husband, Grant Hughes, in August 2023, noting the date of separation as June 27, 2023. She cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split. Harris, meanwhile, filed for divorce in September 2023. In an interview with Self Ali Krieger, Harris’ ex-wife and fellow U.S. Women’s National Team player, said she found out about the filing during training with her former team, Gotham FC.

“I came off the field, in the locker room, and I was obviously devastated,” Krieger told the magazine. Harris, meanwhile, attempted to dispel any allegations of infidelity in an Instagram post. “I was always faithful in my marriage, if not always totally happy,” Harris wrote. “We spent the entire summer working to tackle the separation and divorce steps outlined for us by our therapists, lawyers and our shared agency.”

In the essay, Bush, too, wrote of the summer of 2023—specifically, forming bonds with women in her life enduring similar life changes.

“It seemed like every week there were more of us, including [former US soccer player] Ashlyn [Harris], whom I’d first met in 2019 and who was in the process of figuring out her own split from her wife,” she wrote. “She’d been such a kind ear for those of us who opened up about our problems during a shared weekend of speaking engagements at a fancy conference in Cannes, and soon it became clear that she needed our ears too.”

After said fancy conference in Cannes, as multiple people in their circle pointed out Bush and Harris had developed a level of intimacy that included finishing each other’s sentences, she recalled having a “four and a half hour long meal” with Harris where her feelings became all the more clear.
“In hindsight, maybe it all had to happen slowly and then suddenly all at once. Maybe it was all fated. Maybe it really is a version of invisible string theory. I don’t really know. But I do know that for a sparkly moment I felt like maybe the universe had been conspiring for me.”

“But there was a lot that quickly turned ugly too,” Bush continued, noting the scrutiny their bond had suffered in its early stages. “People looking in from the outside weren’t privy to just how much time it took, how many painful conversations were had. A lot of effort was made to be graceful with other people’s processing, their time and obligations, and their feelings. What felt like seconds after I started to see what was in front of me, the online rumor mill began to spit in the ugliest ways. There were blatant lies. Violent threats. There were accusations of being a home-wrecker.”

Bush refuted the notions that she left her marriage for Harris or that her sexuality had long been a secret: “Just because I didn’t want to process my realizations in real time on social media and spell them out for the world doesn’t mean the journey wasn’t long and thoughtful and exhaustive.”

In a particularly devastating passage, Bush reflected on her doubts about her marriage to Hughes even before walking down the aisle. She was “close” to calling off the wedding, in fact.

“Instead of running away, I doubled down on being a model wife,” she wrote. “I kept repeating the adages we all know so well: Relationships are hard. Marriage takes compromise. You know the rest. And so I got married.”

It soon became painfully apparent, Bush claimed, that she and Hughes weren’t on the same page as she repeatedly underwent unsuccessful fertility treatments—much of which she kept from the public. She also wrote that she jumped at the opportunity to travel to London for a play. But, by the time it ended its run, her marriage “came crashing down.”

Now, Bush is happily—publicly—in a relationship with Harris, though she declined to write about the dissolution of Harris’ marriage to Krieger.

“I don’t believe it’s my place to discuss details of Ashlyn’s circumstances or her children, but I will say that I am absolutely in awe of her relentless integrity,” Bush wrote. “Falling in love with her has sutured some of my own childhood wounds, and made me so much closer to my own mother. Seeing Ashlyn choose to not simply survive, but thrive, for her babies has been the most beautiful thing I’ve ever witnessed a friend do. And now I get to love her. How lucky am I?”

In a moving conclusion, Bush—who in 2011 tweeted she was straight though has long considered herself an ally—identifies herself as queer for the first time.

“I sort of hate the notion of having to come out in 2024. But I’m deeply aware that we are having this conversation in a year when we’re seeing the most aggressive attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community in modern history,” she wrote. ” There were more than 500 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills proposed in state legislatures in 2023, so for that reason I want to give the act of coming out the respect and honor it deserves. I think I’ve always known that my sexuality exists on a spectrum. Right now I think the word that best defines it is queer. I can’t say it without smiling, actually. And that feels pretty great.”

Happy for her and her journey! And I will be watching for Krieger’s response.

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