Kelly McGillis: Coming Out as a Lesbian Not Easy

05/28/2009 at 04:55 PM EDT

Kelly McGillis: Coming Out as a Lesbian Not Easy
Kelly McGillis
Jordan Strauss/WireImage
Kelly McGillis was relaxing in the Florida sunshine and preparing to go on a cruise last February when a simple question caught her off guard: As a single woman, was she looking to date a man or a woman?

"It was like a moment of truth," says the actress, 52, who became a star after appearing with Tom Cruise in Top Gun in 1986. "[A reporter] asked me the question and I thought, Hmm, do I say the truth, or do I just say, It's none of your business, which is my standard answer?"

Her Truth

"I said you know, I'm just going to say the truth," McGillis told PEOPLE at rehearsals for her new play The Little Foxes, which opens May 29 at the Pasadena Playhouse in Pasadena, Calif.

McGillis's "truth" was a long time coming, and the answer was simple: "Definitely a woman."

The woman who made many a male’s heart flutter as the sultry flight instructor in Top Gun has been married twice and has two children. But she says she's actually been a lesbian most of her life. "I tried really hard not to be who I am. I tried super hard," she says. "It was a difficult journey for me to come to terms and be whole and happy with who I am."

Still McGillis, who stars as Regina Giddens in the play alongside Julia Duffy and Marc Singer, says she was surprised people made a big deal about her revelation.

"I got on a cruise ... I thought the whole thing had just disappeared [after the interview], and then I got a phone call: 'Oh my God, Kelly, you can't believe it, it's everywhere.' "

Back to Work

The Little Foxes is McGillis's return to acting after spending eight years as virtually a full-time mom to her two children, and she says it's been a challenge.

"The idea of being judged just totally freaks me out," says McGillis. "Even though I try really hard not to care what people think about me – and that really is my little adage, what you think about me is none of my business – it does matter, and it is hard."

One thing she's not working on right now: romance.

"I am single, and I'm really happy to be so. I was with somebody for eight years, and I just want to be single ... I have such cool friends, and such a cool life," says McGillis. "I don't know what God's plan is for me at all, I just know I'm so happy to be here and happy to be working."


Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Lupita Nyong'o: Most Beautiful!
  • Lupita Nyong'o: Most Beautiful!
  • Chelsea Clinton is Pregnant!
  • Exclusive Royal Tour Diary

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters