MARIA Bello has come out as gay and revealed she has a long-term girlfriend, Zimbabwean new media executive Clare Munn.
The Prisoners, Permanent Midnight, Payback, and Coyote Ugly actress has written an article in which she recalls when she first told her son Jackson about her love life.
The piece, published in the New York Times on Friday, is titled Coming Out As A Modern Family.
Maria, 46, remembered the day when she told Jackson, now 12, about her relationship with a woman named Clare.
“This was the moment I had been anticipating and dreading for months,” Maria wrote. “I took a deep breath, knowing that my answer, and his response, would have an impact on our lives for a very long time.”
“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.”
Maria had been looking at old journals a year earlier when she realised her feelings for Clare went beyond a friendship.
“I read about the handful of men and the one woman I had been in romantic relationships with, passages rife with pain and angst,” the Coyote Ugly star wrote.
“It seemed when I was physically attracted to someone, I would put them in the box of being my ‘soul mate’ and then be crushed when things didn’t turn out as I had hoped.
“As I continued to look through photos, I came across a black-and-white one of my best friend and me taken on New Year’s Eve. We looked so happy, I couldn’t help but smile.’
She added: “It didn’t occur to me, until that soul-searching moment in my garden, that we could perhaps choose to love each other romantically.”
The actress expressed her feelings to Clare the next time they saw each other, and recalled how they then “began the long, painful, wonderful process of trying to figure out what our relationship was supposed to be.”
She added: “What had I been waiting for all of these years? She is the person I like being with the most, the one with whom I am most myself.”
Even after she knew she wanted to be with Claire, Maria was worried about how people would react.
“First, how would it affect my son?’ she wrote. “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.Advertisement
“Second, how would it affect my career? I have never defined myself by whom I slept with, but I know others have and would.”
But after she told her little boy, whose father is her ex-boyfriend Dan McDermott, he replied sweetly: “Mom, love is love, whatever you are.”
And her parents were equally supportive of her relationship, with her mother agreeing with her father’s touching reaction to the news.
“My father’s response came between puffs of his cigar while we sat on the roof of a casino in Atlantic City,’ Maria remembered. ‘“She’s a good girl, good for you”.’
Clare is the CEO and Founder of social impact media company, The Communications Group which launched in spring 2013 and aims to empower and educate through certified social media, branding and digital marketing training.
Partnerships include the California Stock Exchange and California Start Up. Born and brought up in Zimbabwe, she has traversed the world of publishing, design, communication and technology.
She is also a global activist, having served on boards of organizations such as Pangea Day, Artists for Literacy, Creative Visions, WomensHIVProgramm, and WeAdvance, and has served as a trustee for Environment Africa and the California Women’s Conference.
FIVE THINGS ABOUT CLARE MUNN
She’s originally from Zimbabwe
In the Times article, Bello described meeting Munn in a bar “wearing a fedora and speaking in her Zimbabwean accent.” “We had an immediate connection but didn’t think of it as romantic or sexual,” Bello wrote. “She was one of the most beautiful, charming, brilliant and funny people I had ever met, but it didn’t occur to me, until that soul-searching moment in my garden [two years later], that we could perhaps choose to love each other romantically.”
Munn later joked during the 2013 TEDWomen conference that it’s her accent which attracts people. “Americans seem to be very fascinated with the accent. That’s probably the only reason I have friends actually.”
She’s an activist too
Like Bello, Munn is a longtime social activist and entrepreneur. The CEO and founder of social impact media company The Communication Group, Munn started her own NGO or non-governmental organization in her native Zimbabwe when she was just 20 and continues to work with women all over Africa. During an introduction at a recent keynote speech in New York City, Bello told the audience that Munn has raised over $25 million to start several successful technology marketing and branding companies. Bello currently serves on the board of Munn’s Communication Group.
She’s Jackson’s godmother
Munn refers to Jackson as her “godson.” Bello described in the Times article the process of trying to tell her son how she 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.”
She’s a bad cook
During Bello’s introduction of Munn at the New York keynote speech, she also revealed who does the cooking in the family. “She’s … a very bad cook,” Bello said. Munn agreed. “You’re definitely a better cook than I am,” she said. But Munn makes up for it with her smarts. “Her accent makes her appear really smart,” Bello told the audience. “But the truth is, she is really smart and half the time I have no idea what she’s even talking about.”
Munn revealed during an interview at TEDWomen that she is “rather dyslexic. I’ve really managed to overcome much of my dsylexia,” she said, adding that she was “thrilled” to have the learning disorder. “I have no apologies about that because I see things differently,” she said.