Elliot Page has written a memoir, Pageboy, which has to be one of my favorite book titles in recent memory. It’s perfect. I’m so happy Elliot is telling his story, and seems like he’s in a really good place. He’s on the cover of People to promote Pageboy, and he shared some juicy details from the book with them. One of the juiciest stories? Elliot described having an affair with Kate Mara while she was dating Max Minghella in 2014. Elliot says it revealed a pattern in his life where he was attracted to unavailable people.
“The first person I fell for after my heart was broken was Kate Mara,” Page writes. “She had a boyfriend at the time, the lovely and talented Max Minghella.”
Page goes on to describe their romance, during which Page was filming 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. (“Kate has read the book,” Page says. Mara is appearing with Page at a book event in Los Angeles in June.) Page writes that Minghella was supportive of Mara exploring her feelings for Page. “I never thought I could be in love with two people and now I know I can,” Page says Mara told him.
“This was right after I’d come out as gay and it was a time of exploration and also heartbreak,” Page says. “I think my relationship, or whatever you want to call it with Kate, very much encapsulates a certain dynamic that I consistently found myself in, which was falling for people that — I think a lot of us do this — who aren’t fully available. And the sort of safety in that and the highs and the lows and the serotonin bump, and then it goes away.”
“And I think that is definitely a pattern in my life,” he adds. Page says he and Mara are still close. “I think the love and care that we have for each other is its very own special thing. Separate from the intimacy that I write about.”
I’m impressed that Max Minghella was cool with Kate and Elliot having a relationship. I feel like a lot of guys would respond in a territorial way or feel emasculated. It sounds like Kate told Max early on, but I’ll have to read the book to learn the full story. We are very eager in American culture to pass judgment on infidelity or polyamorous relationships. But I try to approach stories like this with an attitude of curiosity rather than judgment. It sounds like Kate and Elliot’s relationship was emotionally intense and meaningful for them both.
It’s perceptive of Elliot to realize that he was drawn to people who were not fully available. And I think that pattern also makes sense for people who are subjected to societal programming and shame for their gender identities or sexual orientation. (Or for other things, too.) If you spend your life believing that you are unlovable, or that you won’t be accepted for who you truly are, of course you’ll be attracted to people who confirm that belief by not being fully available. That’s what society tells you that you deserve. And he describes the “safety” in that dynamic, which might seem counterintuitive, but I know exactly what he’s talking about. It feels safe because it feels familiar. And if the person you’re seeing isn’t fully available, you don’t have to be either. I think it’s sweet that Elliot and Kate are still friends. It’s cool when exes can be friends like that, and it isn’t always possible.
Elliot also shares a blind item in his book about a famous actor verbally harassing him at a party back in 2014, when he had come out as gay. The actor said some vile things to him, including, “you aren’t gay, that doesn’t exist. You’re just afraid of men.” Multiple people saw and heard it go down. I wish Elliot had named names and put this guy on blast, but I also get why he didn’t. Hollywood fronts like it’s such a progressive industry. It’s not. It reflects American culture at large, which still privileges some people more than others. So it’s easy for powerful people in Hollywood to get away with being racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and so on. That’s basically how it’s always been.
Photos of Elliot and Kate together are from 2014 and credit: PacificCoastNews/Avalon