Paulson dated men before entering a seven-year relationship with actress Cherry Jones and now dates Holland Taylor

By Patrick Gomez
Updated March 16, 2016 10:15 AM
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Credit: J.R. Mankoff/August

Sarah Paulson won’t be painted into a corner.

“I’ve always walked to the beat of my own drum,” the actress says in the current of issue of PEOPLE.

Growing up in Brooklyn, the actress – who is currently receiving rave reviews for her portrayal of prosecutor Marcia Clark on People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story – even went against the grain on her first big audition.

“The fine print said to audition with something age-appropriate, but I did a monologue as the mom from Bye Bye Birdie,” Paulson, 41, says of auditioning for New York City’s Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, which inspired the movie Fame. “They probably let me in just because they thought it was a brave choice. But really, it was just naïveté.”

And as she grew up and entered the dating world, that independent nature continued to blossom.

For more from Sarah Paulson – including what she learned from Marcia Clark about dealing with fame – pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

The American Horror Story actress has notoriously declined to label her sexual orientation.

She is currently dating former Two and a Half Men star Holland Taylor, 73, but dated men before entering a seven-year relationship with Cherry Jones, 59, that ended in 2009.

“If my life choices had to be predicated based on what was expected of me from a community on either side, that’s going to make me feel really straitjacketed, and I don’t want to feel that,” Paulson told The New York Times earlier this month. “What I can say absolutely is that I am in love, and that person happens to be Holland Taylor.”

The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story airs Tuesdays (at 10 p.m. ET) on FX.