Laura Dern Needed a 'Full Security Detail' After Starring on Ellen DeGeneres' Coming-Out Episode

PEOPLE.com | 12/6/2019 | Staff
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More than 20 years later, Laura Dern is reflecting on her appearance on Ellen DeGeneres‘ historic coming-out episode.

Little - Big - Lies - Actress - Character

The Little Big Lies actress, 52, opened up about playing a gay character on sitcome Ellen in an interview with Vulture published Monday, telling the outlet required a security protection amid the backlash the 1997 episode received.

Dern, who guest-starred on the TV series as a **** who helps DeGeneres’ character realize that she’s also gay, said she first received calls from “a couple of advisers in Hollywood who were out gay men” telling her “to not do it” when she first agreed to the role. Though she initially shrugged off the concerns as “ridiculous,” she remembered realizing that people were not as progressive as they seemed when she was on set with Oprah Winfrey, who appeared on the episode as DeGeneres’ therapist, during production.

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“A lot of people in my life really worried,” she said. “This is where I grew up in a bubble and didn’t realize we weren’t there yet or something.”

“The first time I became aware was, Oprah and I were having a snack, and suddenly a flood of cops swarmed the set and the stage while we were rehearsing. They’re like, ‘There’s been a bomb threat, we’re sweeping the stage.’ And they start literally rushing us off the stage,” she recalled.

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Dern called it a “radical” experience, saying she “spent the next couple of years really struggling in work and safety.”

“It was the only time I ever experienced having to have to have a full security detail,” she shared.

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