Self-Reflection Gave Lea Michele The Path to Peace After ‘Glee’ Backlash

The controversy surrounding the reported behavior of Lea Michele on the set of the popular Fox musical series Glee challenged


The controversy surrounding the reported behavior of Lea Michele on the set of the popular Fox musical series Glee challenged the star to do some serious self-reflection which results in “a lot of personal reach-outs.”

“I think these past two years have been so important for everybody to just sit back and reflect,” Michele told Interview Magazine. “I did a lot of personal reach-outs. But the most important thing was for everybody to just take a step back.” She continued to add, “At the end of the day, what matters the most is how you make people feel. And you have to put aside your feelings. The conversations that I’ve had behind the scenes with some people were incredibly healing and very eye-opening for me.”

The Mirror of Self-Reflection

Glee ran its course on Fox from 2009 to 2015. Costars of hers revealed that Michele made their lives a “living hell” on set– specifically stated by Samantha Marie Ware.

In 2020, following some deep and necessary self-reflection, Michele issued a public apology which she shared with PEOPLE.

“One of the most important lessons of the last few weeks is that we need to take the time to listen and learn about other people’s perspectives and any role we have played or anything we can do to help address the injustices that they face.”

Another section of the apology read, “While I don’t remember ever making this specific statement and I have never judged others by their background or color of their skin, that’s not really the point. What matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people.”

“Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused. We all can grow and change and I have definitely used these past several months to reflect on my own shortcomings.”

Moving Forward With Better Intentions

“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,” Michele stated. “But you also can’t ignore those experiences or deny them. They are a part of the patchwork of my life.”

The former Glee star has recently locked down the role as Fanny Brice on Broadway’s Funny Girl. But, before accepting it, she made sure to do another hint of self-reflection to make sure she was emotionally and mentally ready for the scene.

“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.'”

“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,'” she recalled. “Because that was always a struggle for me.”

Adding in, “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.”