Jane Lynch: "I'm more in love with my wife every day"
Jane Lynch, 52, on her Glee success in later life, her teenage angst about being gay, and having an addictive personality
At 16 I had assessed that I was gay, but growing up in the suburbs in Chicago I didn’t know anyone who was gay. I just knew it was something people whispered about, a bad thing. So it was a scary time. I had this secret – my God, I didn’t even say it out loud to myself. I remember when I was 16 I was keeping this journal and I wrote, ‘I think I might be gay’. And then I took the journal and walked as far away from my school as I could till I found a garbage can behind a grocery store and I threw the journal in the dumpster.
I wish I’d had a Glee when I was 16. I wish I could tell the younger me, hey, there are more people like you. It feels frightening now but times will change and people will become more accepting and they’ll not just be tolerant but loving. In 20 years this aspect of you will be about as important as being tall and blonde. I have a Twitter account now and at least half my followers seem to be kids in high school and they say things like, I wish you were my mom. The younger me would find that very ironic – I so wanted someone to be my saviour when I was 16.
I think I was always funny. I think you’re born funny or you’re not. I was good at it so I grabbed at it. I was the class clown. I remember setting out to get a couple of girls I liked to like me back and that was how I went about it. Operation crack ‘em up.
Getting a part in the movie Best in Show was a game changer for me. When I met Christopher Guest [director/star of Best in Show and writer/star of This is Spinal Tap] I felt he saw me, and I saw him. That’s how he auditions people – they just sit in his office and he’s not the best small talker in the world, but he can tell right away what’s going on with a person and if he likes them. If I could have been 16 and met the Christopher Guest from 2000, that would have been awesome.
The teenage Jane would spiral into despair if I told her she’d have to wait until she was 40 to have real success. She wanted it all to happen right away. But now I’m glad it turned out like that. It was the perfect path for me.
I would tell the younger me to put the cigarettes down now. And you don’t need to go drinking every weekend because, I tell you what, that’s gonna turn into drinking every day. I was drinking pretty heavily when I was 16 and already it was getting old. I was suffering terrible hangovers. I’d tell her, don’t even play with it, you have an addictive personality. I still battle that one.
I never planned or even thought about being a stepmother. What had kids ever done for me? I’ve always felt like a directionless kid myself. But now I have this really great kid, I don’t think I could have designed her any better. She’s 11 and she’s sharp and witty. I watch my wife and I’m in love with her more every day ’cause she’s such a good mother.
I had a dream last night about being 53, ’cause I’ll be 53 next year and oh, it was horrible. But then I think, well what’s the alternative? Death. I think when I’m 70 I’m gonna look back at being 53 and think, those were the days. I became aware of my age when I turned 40. It was a real shock when 50 came. You expect to get a little pause for thought after that but no, 51 comes right along. I keep older people around me so I still feel young.
In 1976, the year Jane turns 16... Apple Computer company is founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne... Concorde makes its first commercial flight... The Ramones release their eponymous debut album... The CN Tower opens in Toronto, Canada...
Series four of Glee is on Sky 1, Sundays, 8pm