Sophia Bush Comes Out as Queer and In Love With Ashlyn Harris

Feature image of Sophia Bush and Ashlyn Harris by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Elton John AIDS Foundation

Following the intense speculation about their relationship last fall, neither actress/activist Sophia Bush or soccer player Ashlyn Harris spoke publicly about to confirm or deny their relationship or its timeline, but they were appearing in public together, here and there, and Ashlyn made it clear on her on social media that she’d not cheated on her wife, Ali Krieger. Today, in a classy as fuck move from Sophia Bush, Bush appeared on the cover of Glamour Magazine to discuss her divorce, her rebirth, finding love again and being a part of the queer community.

In an intro from the magazine, they write that following the unconfirmed news that Ashlyn and Sophia were dating, “the internet seemed to be foaming at the digital mouth for a scandal, but to those who knew her, it was clear she’d never been more herself.” (I hope someone wins a Pulitzer for “foaming at the digital mouth.”) The essay, written by Sophia Bush, does a masterful job of gently moving her relationship with Ashlyn out of the realm of scandal and into a much different story about two women connecting over their respective breakups during an extremely painful time for Bush.

Bush writes eloquently about her own marriage to Grant Hughes, which she describes as mostly unhappy and cloaked in unease so thick she nearly called the whole thing off before it happened. But she didn’t. She got married, and then began what was ultimately a physically and emotionally painful fertility journey that didn’t end in having a child but did end in her realizing she’d made a mistake to marry the man she’d married. She took a theater job in London to get away from it all, but found herself deteriorating physically once there, spending multiple nights in the hospital until she simply couldn’t take it anymore.

In the summer of 2023 she returned to L.A.. She and her husband separated and she was preparing to file for divorce. She began connecting with a group of women also going through breakups, a kind of support group. Amongst them was Ashlyn Harris, who she’d known since 2019. And then it started happening:

I didn’t expect to find love in this support system. 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.

Mutual friends noticed the connection between Ashlyn Harris and Sophia Bush before Bush did, and the two went on their first date, a four hour dinner that became “one of the most surreal experiences of [her] life thus far.” She cites their connection and their love as something that set her free and made her happy in a way she hasn’t ever been before, and that it was painful to whether accusations like “the idea that [she] left [her] marriage based on some hysterical rendezvous” or that she was a “home-wrecker” or that she left her ex due to a sudden realization that she liked girls, insisting “my partners have known what I’m into for as long as I have.” She recalls the transition into this relationship as one that was making a concerted effort “to be graceful with other people’s processing, their time and obligations, and their feelings.”

She didn’t want to respond to the haters but she’s happy, now, to tell her own story, to be open about her relationship and her sexual orientation: “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.”

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 10: Stephanie Nguyen, Sophia Bush, Bobby Berk and Ashlyn Harris attend Elton John AIDS foundation annual viewing party with Tequila Don Julio at West Hollywood Park on March 10, 2024 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Tequila Don Julio)

Stephanie Nguyen, Sophia Bush, Bobby Berk and Ashlyn Harris attend Elton John AIDS foundation annual viewing party with Tequila Don Julio at West Hollywood Park on March 10, 2024 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Tequila Don Julio)

In the “love is love” era, it is refreshing to have Bush, a person who has long been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, to also understand the value and impact of coming out. In a Glamour podcast released today tied to the cover story, Bush reflects “I would’ve liked for a lot of things to happen a little differently, but at the end of the day I have nothing to apologize for. The bonus of this whole journey is that I spend every day around a person that being close to is like, getting shone on by the sun. I want that for all of us. I want people to find the right room.” Reflecting on where she’s at now, Bush says, “I feel like I’ve been wearing an 80 pound weighted vest, for probably a decade? And I finally just fucking put it down.” So many queer people who have gone through their own coming out journeys will know exactly what that profound relief feels like. 

The reaction on social media has been largely positive, including props and love from former Queer Eye cast member Bobby Berk and actress Brittany Snow, while other fans cite enormous and longstanding girl crushes on Sophia.

“I really love who I am, at this age and in this moment,” Bush writes in her essay. “I’m so lucky that my parents, having spent time with Ash over the holidays, said, ‘Well, this finally looks right.'”

You can read the entire story at Glamour Magazine.

 

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Riese

Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3202 articles for us.

23 Comments

  1. I just find it interesting that they started connecting while Ashlyn was “Separated from her wife” but her wife was simultaneously posting to instagram about how much she couldnt wait for Ash to come home from Cannes to their two kids. Seems like Ash could have told her wife they were separated before telling Sophia…. But who knows, Ash may have misled Sophia as well.

    • Thanks for a beautiful summary Riese!

      I loved Sophia’s essay as well. Everyone outside of the Ali Krieger trolls seems so happy and supportive. The way the AK trolls behave has been so shocking and disgusting to witness. They seem really delusional because as the article lays out, there wasn’t cheating. And nobody has ever said that was the case.

  2. I found this essay absolutely beautiful! I don’t think we have solid evidence they cheated and even if they did, we’re all just complex human beings. I’ve never cheated on anyone myself but I can see how that might happen even with the best intentions in a relationship. I don’t think it’s our place to judge others because you don’t really know their specific situation. Their love makes me happy and hopeful. =)

  3. I wish Sophia didn’t feel she had to craft such a vulnerable, careful, and still heartfelt essay, in response to the social media/online speculation (which is basically just being repeated here in many of the comments––seriously, people, we don’t know what happened, nor do we need? it is possible to be at once struggling/stifled in a relationship and genuinely trying to see if you can make it work and also find yourself drawn to someone else at some point in that process). But I’m glad she did write it (much as I wish public figures like her and Billie Eilish and so many others didn’t get hounded to “claim” their identity), especially in this particular social moment and climate. Wising her and Ashlyn and Ali all the best. Now to go rewatch that episode of Easy with her and Jacqueline Toboni!

  4. I love and admire Sophia’s vulnerability and openness in this essay. She is so well-spoken and I am so incredibly happy for her. The way she described her queerness/coming out resonated so much and as a fan knowing she’s queer is so meaningful to me.

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