Gloria Reuben is 'most proud' that her “ER” character, the HIV-positive Dr. Boulet, was able to live on

"One of the things that I’m most proud of, if not the most proud of, is that Jeanie Boulet walked out of that ER.”

Gloria Reuben is reflecting on the legacy of her character on ER, Dr. Jeanie Boulet, who was diagnosed with HIV during the show's third season.

Reuben is especially proud that Boulet was able to walk "out of that ER" in 1999 and have a full life instead of dying from AIDS complications, as was often the narrative around positive characters.

<p>NBC/courtesy Everett Collection</p> Gloria Reuben on 'ER'

NBC/courtesy Everett Collection

Gloria Reuben on 'ER'

“She was really brave and was navigating a terrain that no one else had before on television and certainly in that hospital," Reuben told TV Insider. "Being HIV positive, being a married professional woman of color who contracted HIV from her husband in the mid-’90s, that on its own was groundbreaking."

Reuben joined ER in the first season as a recurring character and became a series regular in season two. Towards the end of that season, her estranged husband Al (Michael Bleach) is admitted to Cook County General Hospital where it's discovered he's contracted HIV.

Jeanie gets tested and in the third season premiere she learns she's positive.

“It really helped blow open the doors about who gets HIV and how they get it and all of that," Reuben said. "And so for Jeanie to navigate her way as a wife, as a physician assistant in her personal professional life — she doesn’t stay with her husband Al, and what happened next in her personal life — it was intense and beautiful at the same time.”

Reuben credits Jeanie Boulet for helping to "reduce the stigma and the shame and the misinformation about HIV and AIDS."

"I have to say that one of the things that I’m most proud of, if not the most proud of, is that Jeanie Boulet walked out of that ER,” the actress explained. “She did not die from AIDS. She walked out of that ER after having remarried and adopted a baby. Because you know what? At that time, late ‘90s medicine was helping people. It was literally giving people with HIV their lives back, many of them. So we were like, and I specifically was like, she’s going to walk out of there alive."

Reuben left ER in episode six of season six, "The Peace of Wild Things." Having adopted an HIV positive baby boy after his mother dies in the hospital and married police officer Reggie Moore (Cress Williams), she decides to leave County General in order to spend more time with her family. However, Boulet retuned eight years later in the season 14 episode "Status Quo."

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Related content:

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.