Maria Bello comes out as bisexual in a NYT essay, explains how she told her son


Well, this is interesting. But not in the way you’re expecting, maybe. Maria Bello has “come out” as bisexual in an essay/column in the New York Times. The piece, written by Maria, was published over the weekend to a collective “What’s that again?” Maria discusses her “coming out” as a bisexual woman through the story of how she came to tell her 12-year-old son about what was happening with his mama. While I think it’s absolutely fine to tell your 12-year-old son (and the world) that you self-identify as bisexual and you’ve had relationships with women, the shocking part to me was that Maria is actually in two major relationships right now – one with a man and one with a woman. Maria calls this her “modern family.” But that’s really confusing for kids, right? I couldn’t care less about the sexuality, it’s the “mommy loves two people in different ways” part that I think is… perhaps inappropriate for children. Anyway, you can read Maria’s piece here and here’s the basic gist:

“So are you romantic with anyone right now?” [my son] asked.

I took a deep breath, knowing that my answer, and his response, would have an impact on our lives for a very long time.

He was right; I was with someone romantically and I hadn’t told him. I had become involved with a woman who was my best friend, and, as it happens, a person who is like a godmother to my son. How and when should I tell him? When I explained the situation to a therapist, she smiled and said, “Your son may say a lot of things about you when he’s older, but he will never say his mother was boring.”

Her advice was to wait until he asked. And now here he was, asking.

… First, how would it affect my son? He trusted Clare. He loved her. He had never met most of the men I had been in love with and had no idea I had been with a woman as well. Second, how would it affect my career? I have never defined myself by whom I slept with, but I know others have and would.

It’s hard for me even to define the term “partner.” And I have never understood the distinction of “primary” partner. Does that imply we have secondary and tertiary partners, too? Can my primary partner be my sister or child or best friend, or does it have to be someone I am having sex with? I have two friends who are sisters who have lived together for 15 years and raised a daughter. Are they not partners because they don’t have sex? And many married couples I know haven’t had sex for years. Are they any less partners?

My feelings for Clare aren’t the same as the butterflies-in-the-stomach, angst-ridden love I have felt before; they are much deeper than that. As we grew closer, my desire for her grew stronger until, after a few months, I decided to share the truth of our relationship with my large, Italian-Polish, “traditional” Philadelphia family.

My father’s response came between puffs of his cigar while we sat on the roof of a casino in Atlantic City. “She’s a good girl, good for you,” he said. My mother and family echoed his sentiments. Maybe they weren’t so traditional after all.

My feelings about attachment and partnership have always been that they are fluid and evolving. Jack’s father, Dan, will always be my partner because we share Jack. Dan is the best father and the most wonderful man I’ve known. Just because our relationship is nonsexual doesn’t make him any less of a partner. We share the same core values, including putting our son first. My more recent ex, Bryn, remains my partner because we share our activism. And Clare will always be my partner because she is also my best friend.

So back to Jackson’s question, with me sitting on the edge of his bed: Was I romantic with anyone right now? I exhaled and finally said it: “Clare.”

He looked at me for what seemed like an eternity and then broke into a huge, warm smile. “Mom, love is love, whatever you are,” he said with wisdom beyond his years. (Yes, he obviously attends one of those progressive schools in Los Angeles!)

I loved him so much for saying that. “But Jack, I’m a little scared,” I said. “When I was younger, people judged you if you were in a romantic relationship with a person of the same sex, and some still do. So I’m not sure how to deal with this. But we’ll figure it out together.”

And we have figured it out together: Jack, Clare, Dan and I. It’s a rare weekend when we aren’t piled in the same car, driving to one of Jack’s soccer tournaments. Dan makes fun of Clare for getting lost and she makes sure he always has the umbrellas, sunscreen, water nuts and whatever else we might need in a nuclear disaster.

[From The NY Times]

Maria goes on about how it works for her and I guess we should applaud her for figuring out the whole co-parenting thing and going with the flow and all of that. I think it’s sweet that her son is so accepting right off the bat (bigotry and intolerance is learned behavior, not inherent in children) and hey, what do I know? Maybe it will all work out. But it sounds like it’s working… right now. But that the situation will probably become more fluid when Dan moves on with someone else or when Maria has some hot guy or girl co-star and it will just be a mess. But maybe that’s fine too, Jack sounds like a good kid and maybe he’ll understand.

Also, in case you thought that “costars” reference was a throw-away, Maria talks about falling deeply in and out of love with two unnamed costars in her essay. I really, really want to know if one of the costars was Viggo Mortensen. RIGHT?! Because their sex scenes in A History of Violence were pretty hot and I could easily see how any woman would fall in love with Viggo within the span of a few hours. Yes, I’m projecting.


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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48 Responses to “Maria Bello comes out as bisexual in a NYT essay, explains how she told her son”

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  1. T.fanty says:

    I think she’s SO hot. I would volunteer to be in that threesome.

    Actually, it’s called a throuple, and it’s a thing, now.

    • Frida_K says:


      Ha, T., I love it! You are naughty-naughty-naughty.

      • T.fanty says:

        It’s true!

        Tilda Swinton is on one, with two men. As will I be, once TommyAnne and Cumby get their visas sorted. That’s OBVIOUSLY the only thing holding it up.

        (ETA: having actually now paid a little attention to the post, the others are actually right. That said, I’m not going to let that stop me amusing myself)

      • Han says:

        T.fanty I think you misunderstood. Maria doesn’t say she is in a relationship with both people. Her and the kids dad are no longer in a romantic relationship. Neither is Tilda with two men. She merely raises the children with her ex but they are no longer in a relationship. She is only dating her hot tomboy. These are people who are mature enough to forget ego and stay close for the sake of their kids. Admirable

      • Secret Squirrel says:

        Sorry, I work at the visa store and have no intention of letting either TommyAnne or Cumby’s applications go through. However I intend to seek private interviews with both of them (together or separate, I don’t mind at all) as to why they wanted the visa’s in the first place. If you stay on my good side, I might share the tapes with you later.

      • V4Real says:

        I always thought Maria Bello was hot and loved that sex and nude scene in A History of Violence.

        On a different note I always tell me that I am straight but would bend when the opportunity presents itself.

        @T. Fanty why wait for Visas just marry TommyAnne and Cumby can get by on his work visa. Just pretend you’re filming a very long movie that’s going to take place in NY for at least a year.

      • T.fanty says:


        That was the original plan, but TommyAnne is still fretting over the ribbon color on the bouquets and which sonnet to use in the ceremony (I had to slap him when he suggested “my mistress’ eyes). So if I ever want this to happen, I need a new plan.

      • Trillion says:

        @V4Real: Whenever someone asks me if I’m gay, I always respond, “Depends on who’s asking”. I’ve decided I’m a cis-woman who is gay-male identified. Here in the Bay area, fun with sex semantics is a sport. Along with, of course…

      • V4Real says:

        Well we should all put our collective heads together and come up with the mother of all plans.

    • Chloe says:

      Huh? She says the relationship with the father of her child is non sexual. That is not a threesome.
      This isnt any different to the Tilda Swinton set up , who have stayed close to the father of her children while with her new boyfriend
      I feel the article is perhaps suggesting that its confusing because Marias new partner is a woman. But really its the same situation as with Tilda and most people think Tilda is awesome for this modern family set up she has.

      • bns says:

        Exactly. She and her son’s father aren’t in a romantic relationship anymore, they’re just raising their son together.

      • lucy2 says:

        I know, where is this confusion coming from? She’s clearly stating she’s only romantically involved with her friend Clare, not her ex anymore.

      • tracking says:

        Yes, I’m puzzled by this too. She’s merely stating she’s bisexual, not that she has more than one sexual partner at present.

    • Frida_K says:

      Re: the link

      Ha, I love it even more, T. Fanty, you clever minx!

      I think I will have to have Tom Hardy and Gary Oldman. It would be most deliciously clever.


    • blue marie says:

      I had heard that about Tilda, but I’ve always referred to it as polyamorous, didn’t know there was another name for it. If they’re all okay with it then I have no problems with it. Not really any of my business anyway.

      • Chloe says:

        Tilda and the father of her child used to live in the same house after they split up for the sake of the children ( they dont anymore) even though she was dating someone new ( i believe her ex was too). They werent still a couple though. This is something that was suggested by a salacious gossip press that couldnt wrap their heads around that they could still share the same house.

      • Liv says:

        If that’s true it’s a very lovely thing to do. I think it’s pretty hard for children when their parents split up. Very selfless to try living together for the sake of the children.

  2. Cora says:

    I believe the film with Mortensen was called “A History of Violence”. 🙂
    Great film! Loved them both in it!

  3. eliza says:

    Am I crazy? I thought it was well known she was bi sexual? I swear I heard it some place a long while ago.

  4. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Her relationship with the father of her son is a non sexual parenting partnership. I don’t see why that’s inappropriate for discussion with a child.

    • T.C. says:

      I know. She just has a good friendship with the father of her son. She’s not having threesomes. It’s a platonic friendship.That’s the goal for all divorced parents.

    • Samtha says:

      Exactly. She’s not in a polyamorous relationship. She has a good co-parent relationship with her son’s father, and also has a girlfriend. I don’t get why that’s controversial!

    • Liv says:

      I’m confused. But she was in a real relationship with her son’s father, wasn’t she? And then they got divorced or separated and she’s now with a woman? Or two women? I didn’t read the whole article and don’t get it.

      • Sarah says:

        I am confused as to why you are confused. She has a girlfriend and she co-parents with her ex husband. Just like millions of people co parent with their ex and is in a new relationship. Sounds pretty normal. Whats confusing about this?

      • Liv says:

        I was confused if her ex-husband was her husband or just a friend she got a kid with. Don’t know that much about her private life.

      • T.C. says:

        She was married before to Dan. They had a son together. They are now divorced but remain good friends and spend platonic time with their son together. She has a girlfriend who is also platonic friendly with her ex-husband. She is just saying despite her new relationship, she still retains a good friendship with her ex-husband to bring up her son. I really don’t understand why people are so confused by this article.

      • Liv says:

        Good god, I like Maria Bello and I absolutely don’t have a problem with her being with a woman now. I don’t get why you all freak out. Like I said I didn’t read her whole story and some comments sounded like she has got a child with a platonic friend. That’s basically why I was confused because I initially got it like you explained it. Calm down.

      • mayamae says:

        “……. the shocking part to me was that Maria is actually in two major relationships right now – one with a man and one with a woman. Maria calls this her “modern family.” But that’s really confusing for kids, right? I couldn’t care less about the sexuality, it’s the “mommy loves two people in different ways” part that I think is… perhaps inappropriate for children.”

        Perhaps the confusion is caused by the above quote, which implies Maria is sexually involved with both a man and a woman – which would be polyamorous.

      • Liv says:

        Thanks, mayamae!

  5. Sarah says:

    “working on a film” doesnt necessarily mean co- stars 🙂

  6. lucy2 says:

    I’ve always really liked her as an actress, from way back in her ER days. If she’s happy, that’s great. And it’s awesome that her family is supportive, and she has a close co-parenting relationship with her son’s father.

    I do find it a little doubtful that a 12 year old boy asked if his mother was “romantic with anyone right now”. Seems very odd phrasing for a kid!

    • Andrea says:

      Maybe he saw it on TV or heard other people talking? I admit the words themselves seem odd but I could see a 12 year old wondering what his Mom’s status was.

  7. Ellen says:

    Her son’s dad is producer/screenwriter — I think it’s implied that he was one of the two.

    I also thought her relationship with her ex was familial but not sexual. They are still super-close because they share a son. Her romantic partner is Claire.

  8. Kate says:

    Why would it be strange to tell your 12yr old you’re dating someone? She divorced her son’s dad 7 years ago. She’s now started a relationship with an old friend..what’s complicated about it? Every single/divorced parent has this conversation (unless they choose a lifetime of celibacy).

    I can’t tell if you’ve read the article wrong and assumed she’s still with her son’s father, or if you just don’t understand how she can still be close to her ex and be seeing someone else.

  9. mia girl says:

    I’m with ya, Kaiser.
    I could project on to Viggo all day long.

  10. QQ says:

    So she is more like one of those lots-of-feefees-having-polys?… Cause that’s what it sorta sounds like? Or just a bi lady that coparents well? What?

  11. Ponytail says:

    Interesting timing for this news – on the same day that Tom Daley reveals he’s in a relationship with a man. Neither are saying they’re gay, but both say this is who they want to be with ‘now’.

  12. Kiddo says:

    This is actually the first I’ve heard of her. I’m going to have to do a search to figure out where and if I’ve seen her in anything.

  13. Ann says:

    She’s a total babe! Good luck to her and her girl!

  14. Pip says:

    There are some weird comments on this article.
    Why are people talking about threesomes when she is talking about going to soccer matches to watch her son along with her girlfriend and ex husband?

    Seems like good co parenting to me, its a bit weird to suggest that would lead to a threesomes.

    • Andrea says:

      Totally agree. Also, read the article on Sunday and was really touched by what she wrote. I don’t think she was outing herself, I think she was published in the New York Times which is in and of itself a very BIG accomplishment!

  15. Scarlettmoon says:

    I pretty much love her, big girl crush!

  16. Evi says:

    Is she trying to be relevant?
    The last show I watched with her in it [Prime Suspect], was a disaster.She wasn’t suited to the role and when you’re the lead and you’re not a good fit, the show tanks as Prime Suspect tanked.

  17. Amanda_M87 says:

    Is this the woman who single handedly ruined The Mummy series?

  18. Amy says:

    This reminds of Cynthia Nixon. Wasn’t she with a man for many years and have a few kids with him? Then she met her current wife (I guess during Sex and the City) and then is now with her (and they have a kid together right?). I’m assuming she still has a non-sexual relationship with her children’s father, just like Maria Bello.