Jane Lynch and the Mommy Track (Suit)
BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
September 12 2011 3:00 AM ET
The six-foot-tall blond is finding herself in new territory here as a mom. In between filming season 2 of Glee, Lynch was completely immersed in motherhood. “I became wifely,” she says. While Embry worked, Lynch would drive the station wagon to Whole Foods and head to the dry cleaner’s or the hardware store to do mundane errands, before picking Haden up from school. “I loved taking care of my girls,” Lynch admits.
She may be awarded another Emmy this month, and her memoir is rising up the charts, but what she really wants to do is settle in on the sofa to watch TiVo’d iCarly reruns with Haden until Mom gets home.
When you met Lara at the NCLR gala, she was there with another woman. You didn’t know if they were together, but rumor has it you looked over and said, rather Sue Sylvester–like, “I could break that up.” [Laughs] At that point, I was willing to go in there and destroy a relationship in order to get what I wanted. But turns out I didn’t have to.
And in the end you married a family — not just Lara but her daughters too. Has motherhood changed you? It’s so funny, my instincts are, Well, I’m maternal in that I’m very empathetic, but children I never got or understood. I’ve always been more of a dog person. So yes, motherhood has changed me. I have this little girl, Haden, who lives with us. She’s 9 years old, and she’s witty and sardonic and has a huge heart. She’s a peacemaker and one of the wisest beings. Sometimes I feel like she’s taking care of me.
So now you’re 51 and married with kids, you’re remodeling your home, your career’s at its peak — do you have anxiety about losing it all? No, I don’t. I really don’t. I have a great deal of equanimity in my life, and I don’t have that feverish ambition or anxiety-filled need to go-go-go anymore. I really let things come and go. I don’t suffer much, which also means I don’t get crazy elated about anything. I’m not too high and I’m not too low. I’m kind of in a nice middle place.
Do you think Happy Accidents will surprise readers? I don’t know that I set out to surprise — I just told the story. I kind of carry myself with a confidence and a know-it-all-ness, so it might surprise people that there was actually a very scared child underneath the surface of that.
You’ve said you never did a coming-out interview because you’re a character actor and nobody really cares. But you cared a great deal. I did. That’s something that I hope will be helpful to people who are living in environments where gay people don’t exist or in environments that are hostile toward homosexuals. It’s good for people to know that you can actually overcome the adversity and find places and people like you. They’re out there.
You’re up for an Emmy along with cast mate Chris Colfer, who came out along with his character. What advice do you give someone like Chris, who’s taken such a different path than you did? One of the things I say in the book is that everyone has their own journey and I wouldn’t condescend to tell anybody how to go about theirs except to say, “Trust your life and trust where you are right now.” Everybody’s going to have their own story, and we have to leave it up to them to decide how and when they’re going to come out. I would never give anybody advice that way. It’s so personal.
In your book, you mention a lesbian love scene you had on The L Word with Cybill Shepherd. It was her first love scene with a woman. Of course, we were both clothed because no one wants to see us middle-aged broads flopping around in bed. [Laughs] I had one love scene under my belt, and I’m a lesbian in actual life, so I’m sure she expected me to take the lead, which I did. She was absolutely wonderful and open to the challenge. We both had a good time.
Cybill has two lesbian daughters, Ariel and Clementine, who you worked with. Did Cybill talk about LGBT issues on set? Oh, yeah. She marched in the [pride] parades before it was fashionable. And she gave me an award at the Orange County gay and lesbian center about two years ago, so she’s been out there. Clementine’s got a great mom who’s going to support her and whoever she loves.
Your work on Two and a Half Men endeared you to a different fan base than Glee or Criminal Minds. You write very admiringly of Charlie Sheen. He’s one of the nicest guys and a true leader on that set. He’s going through his stuff now, but there’s a really solid, wonderful person in there, and I love him very much.
You’re often cast as authority figures like Sue, but you say the core of these characters doesn’t match your own, so you often feel like a fraud. Absolutely. It is not my core, however it lives in me. I would not be able to portray it if I didn’t have that. But I use it defensively, that kind of authority or arrogance or indefensive entitlement. My core is much squishier and a little bit insecure…I don’t want to ask for too much, I don’t want to rub people the wrong way. I don’t want anyone to get mad at me. Sometimes I do have to get a little boundaried and state what I need, and I haven’t been great at that, but I’m getting there. I think that that rivals what I’ve put out in the world through my characters who are very boundaried and all entitled to the max. And I think that’s why I get such a kick out of doing it, because that doesn’t match at all who I am [or] how I walk through the world.