“One Tree Hill ”actress Sophia Bush comes out as queer: 'Can't say it without smiling'

"I’ve experienced so much safety, respect, and love in the queer community, as an ally all of my life, that, as I came into myself, I already felt it was my home."

One Tree Hill and Chicago P.D. actress Sophia Bush has come out as queer, nine months after filing for divorce from husband Grant Hughes.

"I sort of hate the notion of having to come out in 2024. But I’m deeply aware that we are having this conversation in a year when we’re seeing the most aggressive attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community in modern history," Bush wrote in a new Glamour cover story, referencing hundreds of anti-LGBTQIA+ bills proposed in states around the country across the past two years.

She continued, "So, for that reason, I want to give the act of coming out the respect and honor it deserves. I’ve experienced so much safety, respect, and love in the queer community, as an ally all of my life, that, as I came into myself, I already felt it was my home. I think I’ve always known that my sexuality exists on a spectrum. Right now I think the word that best defines it is queer. I can’t say it without smiling, actually. And that feels pretty great."

Bush wrote that the decision complicated her union with Hughes, enough so that, in April 2022, she considered "calling off" their wedding that was set for June of that year.

"Fans and friends were telling me how exciting this milestone was and how happy I looked. I felt nothing," she admitted. "Things hadn’t been easy at home, but everyone says marriage is hard, right?"

<p>Arturo Holmes/Getty</p> Sophia Bush

Arturo Holmes/Getty

Sophia Bush

Those struggles, she revealed, led her to seek support among a group of women as she navigated her divorce throughout 2023. It was in that bubble, she said, that she deepened her bond with soccer star Ashlyn Harris, whom she first met in 2019, adding that their feelings for each other grew as they healed from the dissolution of their respective marriages.

"I didn’t expect to find love in this support system," Bush said. "I don’t know how else to say it other than: I didn’t see it until I saw it. And I think it’s very easy not to see something that’s been in front of your face for a long time when you’d never looked at it as an option and you had never been looked at as an option."

"What I saw was a friend with her big, happy life. And now I know she thought the same thing about me," Bush recalled, noting that she and Harris eventually went on a four-and-a-half-hour dinner date before exploring their relationship further.

The 41-year-old star speculated that "other people's processing" also led to a difficult series of "blatant lies" and "violent threats" from the online rumor mill as she began to make a meaningful connection with Harris.

"There were accusations of being a home-wrecker. The ones who said I’d left my ex because I suddenly realized I wanted to be with women," she said, referencing actress Erin Foster's 2023 claim that Chad Michael Murray cheated on her with Bush. "My partners have known what I’m into for as long as I have (so that’s not it, y’all, sorry!)."

Bush ended her reflective essay on a positive note, praising Harris' "relentless integrity" and "the way she prioritizes and centers her kids, not only in her life but in the core of her being."

"Falling in love with her has sutured some of my own childhood wounds, and made me so much closer to my own mother," Bush said. "Seeing Ashlyn choose to not simply survive, but thrive, for her babies has been the most beautiful thing I’ve ever witnessed a friend do. And now I get to love her. How lucky am I?"

Following her rise to fame on the WB/CW drama series One Tree Hill, which she starred on for nine seasons between 2003 and 2012, Bush appeared on Chicago P.D. from 2014-2017. She also had a recurring role on the popular, queer-centered Hulu series Love, Victor.

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