Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Happiness is a Choice

Advocate cover - Portia de Rossi
Portia de Rossi knew her "quiet life" was over when she fell for Ellen DeGeneres. Now, with a new book and a passionate taste for politics, she’s ready to step forward as the first lady of our fight for marriage equality.

She has that least likely of all Hollywood endings — a marriage everyone believes is the real deal. "It’s one thing to have attention; it’s one thing to stand for something," she says. "But unless it’s backed up with genuine happiness, I think people can sense that it’s not worth celebrating."

Whenever anyone asks De Rossi about marriage equality — and, grateful for whatever "little tiny platform" she’s given, she hopes they will — she reveals herself to be an impeccably prepared spokeswoman, a perfectly poised first lady of advocacy. Further proof will come in March when the Human Rights Campaign will acknowledge De Rossi with its Visibility Award at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

A year and a half after their 2008 wedding, she and DeGeneres are still that almost obnoxiously adorable couple. If anything, getting married has only made them more so. Even the paparazzi seem to buy into their love story, mostly leaving the two alone. "To think that a married gay couple is considered boring and normal is fantastic," she says. "Happiness is a choice too. It’s a choice to live in a state of gratitude and to fix what makes you unhappy. Being honest with who you are, being able to go out into the world and show people that you can be successful and be happy and be in a good marriage — it’s important."

She makes another straightforward "case closed" argument for actors coming out, usual Hollywood scare tactics be damned. "People say, 'There are lots of openly gay actors.' And I’m like, who? If everybody I knew that was gay and not being open about it came out, it would make a huge difference to people coming up as young actors in Hollywood. Huge. To producers, to people in casting. I’m sure that when I was with Ellen a lot of people wondered if I could play a straight role convincingly. By having the opportunity, other people can go, 'Oh, that’s OK. It didn’t kill that show. That was believable.'"

In comparison to her wife, at least, "I haven’t said 'I’m gay' that often," she says. Maybe that was true back when the idea of Portia as the femme fatale still cast such a long shadow over her public life.

This is what she has to say now: "Being on Oprah was a very surreal moment — to go from being so closeted and so afraid to talk about my sexuality to sitting with my wife, talking about my wedding and how much I love her. To look out at that audience and see most of the audience crying — Oprah was crying! Life can take so many twists and turns. You can’t ever count yourself out. Even if you’re really afraid at some point, you can’t think that there’s no room for you to grow and do something good with your life."

Source: Advocate, The Great de Rossi