Lea Michele Addressed Those Internet Rumors About Her Not Being Able To Read

Lea Michele in Spring Awakening: Those You've Known
(Image credit: HBO)

Lea Michele has faced tons of backlash from her Glee costars throughout the years for reports of mistreatment and bullying on set. While she has apologized for some of what her castmates have talked about, she hasn’t really discussed some of the rumors... until recently, when she spoke about the rumor that she can't read.

It’s been years since Glee ended in 2015, but rumors around Michele have had a resurgence, especially after the announcement that she would be returning to Broadway as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. Leading up to her first performance in the show, she addressed these rumors with the New York Times

I went to ‘Glee’ every single day; I knew my lines every single day. And then there’s a rumor online that I can’t read or write? It’s sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn’t be the case.

This quote comes after explaining that she is learning how to be “publicly vulnerable.” She said she feels that if she were to respond to these rumors and criticism she would only add more fuel to the fire. 

In the past, the Glee star has been publicly called out for her actions on the set of the show. Samantha Ware called Michele out on Twitter, saying that she made her time on the show a “living hell,” giving examples of the “traumatic microaggressions” she dealt with. Heather Morris, who played Brittany on Gleespoke about Michele as well. However, after some time passed, Morris also said she noticed Michele trying to be better, and Michele apologized for her behavior in 2020. 

Now, in the same interview, she acknowledged her intense work style: 

I have an edge to me. I work really hard. I leave no room for mistakes. That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots.

Since Funny Girl was announced, speculation over Lea Michele playing the lead role has been a part of the conversation. Ultimately, Beanie Feldstein, of Booksmart fame, got the role. However, after mixed reviews, Feldstein announced an early departure from the show. Not long after, Funny Girl posted that its newest Fanny would be Michele. 

This announcement comes after her return to the stage for the reunion of Spring Awakening, which was turned into a documentary on HBO Max. The documentary highlights the now famous cast including Michele, Jonathan Groff, and Skylar Astin by showing them singing some of the hits from Spring Awakening. It also told behind-the-scenes stories, including how badly Michele wanted a Tony, and how mad she was when she wasn’t nominated. 

The reunion was the first time Michele had been back on the stage in a long time. Now, as a new mom, her priorities have shifted. She said she has had to learn how to tap dance from square one, and has been learning how to balance being a wife, mother and the lead of a big musical:

I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader. It means not only going and doing a good job when the camera’s rolling, but also when it’s not. And that wasn’t always the most important thing for me.

Lea Michele will officially take the stage as Fanny Brice on September 6. Despite all the rumors surrounding her, it seems like she is focused on her performance and won’t let anyone rain on her parade. 

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.