Lea Michele Addresses 2020 Backlash From 'Glee' Co-Stars

Lea Michele just opened up about her relationship with her former Glee co-stars after many of them accused her of bullying and racism in 2020. Michele took some serious criticism that year when she joined in public conversations about the Black Lives Matter movement only for some of her Black former co-stars to remind her of her own past transgressions. In a new interview this week, Michele claimed that she has tried to mend those fences behind the scenes – and she believes she has been successful.

Michele joined many other celebrities in the summer of 2020 by voicing her support for the Black Lives Matter movement after the murder of George Floyd. However, soon afterward actress Samantha Marie Ware tweeted some anecdotes from the set of Glee Season 6 where she said Michele made her life a "living hell." Actress Amber Riley later addressed this story in a few interviews as well, supporting Ware while trying to remain diplomatic, and at the same time other stars of the show came forward to criticize Michele for various other reasons. Michele sat down with Interview this week and reflected on all of that criticism, both personally and professionally.

"I think these past two years have been so important for everybody to just sit back and reflect," she said. "I did a lot of personal reach-outs. But the most important thing was for everybody to just take a step back. More than anything, I'm so grateful to have this opportunity to apply the things that I've learned over the past ten-plus years in a positive way."

Michele is now starring in the Broadway show Funny Girl, and she said that she contemplated criticism from her former co-stars before deciding to accept the part. She said: "What I told myself stepping into Funny Girl was, 'If I can't take my role as a leader offstage as important as my role as a leader onstage, then I shouldn't do this show.' Because that was always a struggle for me. So to have this opportunity now at 36 years old as a wife and a mother- to step into this job that comes with so much pressure and a huge amount of responsibility-was a very, very big achievement for me."

"The conversations that I've had behind the scenes with some people were incredibly healing and very eye-opening for me," Michele went on. "I've been doing this for a really long time and I'm not going to ever blame anything on the things that I've been through in my life. But you also can't ignore those experiences or deny them. They are a part of the patchwork of my life. When I got the call that I was going to play Fanny Brice, I said, 'Okay, this could be really big for my career, but it's also helpful to have this opportunity to introduce people to who I am now.'"

So far, Ware and Michele's other past critics have not responded publicly to her new interview. The actress is still appearing on Broadway as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. Glee is streaming now on Disney+ and Hulu.