Amber Heard has always been forthright about her sexuality, but coming out publicly when she was a rising star wasn’t easy.
The 30-year-old spoke candidly on Thursday at The Economist‘s second-annual Pride & Prejudice Summit in New York, recalling the 2010 media storm after she revealed that she identifies as bisexual.
“Well, I always say in response — when I hear someone comment about me coming out, I think it’s funny because I was never in,” she said. “In part because I was very stubborn, I guess, and also in part because I just didn’t feel it was wrong.”
Heard, who recently split from actor Johnny Depp, said she didn’t think her sexuality was a big deal, but learned otherwise when she took her then-girlfriend Tasya van Ree to an event in December 2010.
“I was always out. I was an activist. I went to protests. I refused to not bring my partner at the time, but no one ever asked me about it,” Heard said at the event. “And an outlet specifically asked me who I was there with that night and who that person was to me and I just answered honestly, the way I always answered had there not been a tape recorder on me.”
Heard and Ree dated for four years before splitting in 2012. The actress recalled the moment she opened up to the reporter, noting that it “definitely was a big deal.”
“Then I saw I was attached to a label … I never have myself defined by the person I’m with,” she said. “I never saw myself defined as one particular thing or not. So, I watched as I quickly became not actress Amber Heard, but out lesbian Amber Heard.”
She said Hollywood officials warned her that embracing her sexuality could negatively impact her career.
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“It did impact my career, it was difficult. It was not easy. I was the only one working in this way, so it was definitely difficult because no one had done it,” she said. “I did that even though everyone told me it would end my career, without a doubt.”
She said some directors questioned whether, as an out actress, she could convincingly play a straight woman in a “romantic lead” role.
“I rolled my eyes at that. And I said, ‘Watch me do it,’ ” she explained. “And I did it.”