Best known for her Oscar-nominated role in 2007’s Juno and the portrayal of Kitty Pryde in the X-Men franchise, Ellen Page is one of Hollywood’s most visibly open gay actresses. But unfortunately for the star, her coming out wasn’t exactly the easiest – or even voluntary for that matter. And according to Page, one disgraced director was largely responsible for the trauma she endured.
After many years of speculation, Ellen Page told the world about her sexuality in 2014 in a very public way. You see, the actress was delivering a speech at a conference staged by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation when she made the confession. She told the audience, “I’m here today because I am gay and because maybe I can make a difference.”
Now, in 2016 Page and her friend Ian Daniel hosted a Viceland show named Gaycation, which delved into various cultures within the gay community across the world. And the travelogue highlighted various problems including Brazil’s record-high murder rate of LGBTQ citizens and Jamaica’s inherent homophobia. Furthermore, she questioned Ted Cruz about gay rights during a Q and A conducted at the Iowa Republican Caucus.
As a result, Page told The Guardian in 2019 that she experienced a wide range of emotions while shooting the travel series. She said, “Filming, I felt sadness and anger. But mixed with the most powerful inspiring moments of absolute joy, and gratitude, to be in the presence not only of activists but individuals who are brave because they are themselves every day.”
And Cruz isn’t the only major political figure who Page has challenged in recent years. For instance, in 2019 she took aim at Mike Pence and the Trump administration for their policies discriminating against the LGBTQ community. Indeed, the actress referenced Pence’s attempts to ban gay marriage in Indiana, and his belief in the practice known as conversion therapy.
What’s more, Page hasn’t been afraid to call out Hollywood names aligned with anti-LGBTQ groups. In 2019 she criticized Jurassic World lead Chris Pratt for his affiliation with a church renowned for its homophobia. She told The Independent, “If you are a famous actor and you belong to an organization that hates a certain group of people, don’t be surprised if someone simply wonders why it’s not addressed.”
The daughter of a graphic designer and a teacher, Page was born in the Nova Scotia capital of Halifax in 1987. And she made her screen debut at the age of ten in Pit Pony, a TV movie screened on CBC, and landed her first big screen role in Marion Bridge. But she first came to wider attention as Treena Lahey in the second season of comedy Trailer Park Boys.
And Page’s big break came in 2005 with one of the most challenging roles of her career. Yes, the star played a teenage vigilante who ensnares a man accused of preying on underage girls before torturing him in Hard Candy. In fact, she picked up the Best Actress award at the Austin Film Critics Association for her impressive performance.
A year later Page portrayed Kitty Pryde, the mutant capable of walking through walls, in X-Men: The Last Stand. Also, she later reprised the role in 2014 sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past. However, Page became a critical darling with a part that was slightly more grounded, a pregnant teen, in Juno. You see, she picked up a Best Actress nomination at the Oscars for it but lost out to French star Marion Cotillard.
Anyway, Page continued to take on interesting roles in the likes of Sundance premiere Smart People and the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, Whip It. Furthermore, she presented an episode of Saturday Night Live, and guested as Hannah Montana parody Alaska Nebraska in The Simpsons. And she twice graced FHM’s annual Sexiest Women in the World poll.
Then, in 2009 Page joined the woman who’d denied her an Academy Award on Christopher Nolan’s Inception. And the mind-bending thriller proved to be one of the biggest box office hits of Page’s career. But she continued to work on lower-budget fare, appearing in the likes of indie dramedy Super and LGBTQ tale Freeheld.
After adding the likes of The East to her filmography, Page reunited with Allison Janney, her Juno co-star, on Netflix original Tallulah. And she continued working with the streaming giant, playing Vanya Hargreeves in superhero drama The Umbrella Academy. There’s Something in the Water, a 2019 documentary tackling environmental racism which she directed, also proved that Page was still a keen activist.
By this point Page was also a married woman. Indeed, the star revealed on Instagram in January 2018 that she’d walked down the aisle with choreographer Emma Portner in a private ceremony. Page told her followers, “Can’t believe I get to call this extraordinary woman my wife.” Interestingly, the photo-sharing platform played a major part in their relationship.
Yes, the pair first met after Page contacted Portner through Instagram after being impressed by one of her dance videos. Interestingly, Portner has served as choreographer on the likes of Bat Out of Hell The Musical and Justin Bieber’s world tour, Purpose. She’s also worked with independent musicians BANKS, Maggie Rogers and Blood Orange.
During a chat with The New York Times in 2018, Page revealed why she’d felt so attracted to her future wife. The actress admitted, “I thought: ‘Damn, this girl is so talented and so cool.’ I knew right away we were both creative spirits.” It was a sentiment shared by Portner.
In fact, Portner had always believed that one day she’d meet Page. She told the same newspaper, “I watched one of Ellen’s films when I was about 12 and I remember my friend saying: ‘You are just like this girl.’ I knew we’d cross paths someday – I just wasn’t quite sure when or how.”
Now, the pair sparked rumors that they were a couple when they began sharing clips of themselves dancing together on Instagram. And they made things official when they appeared on the red carpet together for the premiere of Flatliners in 2017. You see, Page took top billing in the remake of the 1990 sci-fi horror.
And Portner was more than happy that their very public date caused a stir. She told The Cut in 2018, “We try to hold hands in public. I try to join her at movie premieres. If we were a straight couple, I don’t think we’d push it so much. But it’s a chance for queerness to be out in the open.”
But in stark contrast to her visible celebration of same-sex love, Page once felt forced to hide her true sexuality. And she revealed just how hard she found this predicament in a lengthy Facebook post in 2017. Page also blasted several famous names in the message who she’d previously worked with but will undoubtedly never work with again.
You see, in 2011 Page shared the screen with Penélope Cruz, Alec Baldwin and Jesse Eisenberg in To Rome with Love. The Italian-shot romantic comedy was directed by Woody Allen, who’s been accused of sexually molesting Dylan Farrow when she was a child. Allen had co-adopted Farrow in the early 1990s during his marriage to fellow Hollywood star Mia Farrow.
Page revealed on Facebook, “I did a Woody Allen movie and it is the biggest regret of my career. I am ashamed I did this. I had yet to find my voice and was not who I am now and felt pressured, because ‘of course you have to say yes to this Woody Allen film.’ Ultimately, however, it is my choice what films I decide to do and I made the wrong choice. I made an awful mistake.”
But it was Page’s remarks about director and producer Brett Ratner that created the most headlines. That’s right, and the actress began her Facebook post with, “You should f*** her to make her realize she’s gay.” Page claims that this was the remark Ratner had made about her during “a meet and greet” event for X-Men: The Last Stand.
At the time, Page was only 18-years-old when she landed the role of Kitty Pryde in the superhero sequel. And she admitted that she’d felt “violated” after hearing Ratner’s startling comment. The director was reportedly talking to a woman ten years Page’s senior when he made the comment. Page said he then pointed at her directly to make it clear who he was referring to.
In her heartfelt Facebook post, Page revealed just how shocked she was at the time. She said, “I was a young adult who had not yet come out to myself. I knew I was gay, but did not know, so to speak. I looked down at my feet, didn’t say a word and watched as no one else did either.”
Page continued, “This man, who had cast me in the film, started our months of filming at a work event with this horrific, unchallenged plea. He ‘outed’ me with no regard for my well-being, an act we all recognize as homophobic.” Sadly, Ratner’s conduct didn’t improve much as the shoot progressed, Page claimed.
Indeed, Page added that she witnessed Ratner behaving in a degrading way to women throughout the filming of the comic book adaptation. She recalled, “I remember a woman walking by the monitor as he made a comment about her ‘flappy p****.’” Interestingly, Ratner has never responded publicly to any of Page’s claims.
And Page emphasized, “We are all entitled to come into an awareness of our sexual orientation privately and on our own terms. I was young and although already a working actor for so long I had in many ways been insulated.” Then the actress mentioned how she’d grown up on film sets rather than with people of her own age.
“This public, aggressive outing left me with long standing feelings of shame, one of the most destructive results of homophobia,” Page expanded. “Making someone feel ashamed of who they are is a cruel manipulation, designed to oppress and repress. I was robbed of more than autonomy over my ability to define myself.”
Heartbreakingly, Page admitted that she’d replayed Ratner’s alleged remark in her mind repeatedly over the years. However, she now feels more equipped to deal with such a scenario. She wrote on the Facebook post, “I can now assert myself and use my voice to to fight back against the insidious queer and transphobic attitude in Hollywood and beyond.”
Indeed, the star hopes to provide support for anyone who finds themselves in a similar position. She explained, “I can help people who may be struggling to be accepted and allowed to be who they are – to thrive. Vulnerable young people without my advantages are so often diminished and made to feel they have no options for living the life they were meant to joyously lead.”
Unfortunately, though, Page wasn’t the only Hollywood star to have claimed to have suffered at the hands of Ratner. The director was also accused of sexual harassment and misconduct by actresses Natasha Henstridge and Olivia Munn as well as Melanie Kohler, an ex-marketing executive. In fact, Ratner filed a defamation lawsuit against the latter before dropping the case. Meanwhile, he’s “vehemently denied” the other claims.
However, Page was backed up by a former co-star in relation to her comments about Ratner. You see, Anna Paquin, who played superhero mutant Rogue in several X-Men films, took to Twitter to confirm that she was there at the time of the incident. And she claimed that everything Page said was true.
Furthermore, Paquin was defiant when asked by some followers why she hadn’t spoken up at the time. She responded, “If you can’t think of the glaringly obvious reason I remained silent then perhaps you’ve forgotten that I’ve been in this victim grooming industry since before I hit puberty.” You see, Paquin famously picked up an Academy Award for her performance in The Piano aged just 11.
Thankfully, Page was able to come out to the wider world, at least, on her own terms. Yes, in 2014 she made a speech at the LGBT youth welfare conference “Time to Thrive” at Las Vegas’ Bally’s Hotel and Casino. And it was at this Human Rights Campaign Foundation event that she put the rumors about her sexuality to bed once and for all.
Page told the audience, “I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain.”
What’s more, the emotional star admitted that it was “weird” to be representing an industry responsible for promoting high standards that are almost impossible to achieve. She added, “Not just young people, but everyone. Standards of beauty, of a good life, of success – standards that, I hate to admit, have affected me.”
Often stopping to gather her composure, Page continued, “You have ideas planted in your head, thoughts you never had before that tell you how you have to act, how you have to dress and who you have to be. I have been trying to push back, to be authentic, to follow my heart, But it can be hard.”
And Page referred to one particular tabloid story in which she was pictured sporting sweatpants as she headed to the gym. The caption read, “Why does this petite beauty insist upon dressing like a massive man?” Much to the audience’s amusement, Page answered the question, “Because I like to be comfortable.”
Canadian twin sister duo Tegan and Sara, Orange Is the New Black actress Laverne Cox and footballer Michael Sam were then praised by Page for their bravery as LGBTQ spokespeople. And the actress finished her speech with three simple words: “I love you.” The audience leapt to their feet as she exited the stage and the clip subsequently went viral.
Of course, Page is continuing to fight for the LGBTQ cause. When asked by a reporter at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019 whether she was concerned about being typecast as a lesbian, she replied, “You would never ask a heterosexual actress that, as being typecast as straight. Why would I not want to play those roles? Quite frankly, I would be thrilled if it’s every role I ever played again!”