It takes some lesbians a little bit of time to figure out that they are lesbians. Their suspicions might start with a few “signs” at school – they don’t fancy boys and/or they might feel attracted to a best female mate. Intolerant friends and family might dissuade them from expressing their true sexual identity at that age, but when they get older they realise they are free to be who they want to be.

Here are four famous showbiz women who took a bit of time to realise that they were queer.

Kelly McGillis, actress

She was one of the iconic faces of American cinema in the 1980s, her credits including Top Gun, Witness and The Accused. After a failed marriage in the early ’80s, McGillis settled down with a girlfriend, despite wrestling with guilt that her lesbian persuasion was somehow morally wrong. Things went terribly wrong in 1982 when two men burst into her house and sexually assaulted her and her girlfriend. Her reaction was to descend into drink and drugs, but she did emerge out the other end when she started making regular appearances on the lesbian TV show The L Word in 2007. Since 2010 she has been happily married to music company exec Melanie Leis.

Wanda Sykes, comedienne

Wanda Sykes admits to having queer urges in her childhood, but felt socially pressured to repress them. She did eventually come out at the age of 40 after a seven year marriage to the record producer Dave Hall, with whom she has two kids.

Maria Bello, activist and actress

Maria’s “modern family” consists of her beloved son, a close friendship with her ex-husband and a romantic pairing with her long-time friend Claire Munn, whom Maria only realised she was in love with when she was 45 years old!

Carol Leifer, writer and comedienne

Here’s another celebrity who didn’t realise she was a supporter of Sappho until early middle age. After dating such high profile gents as Jerry Seinfeld, Carol Leifer fell in love with her now-partner Lori Wolf when they were both in their early 40s.

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