Baby Reindeer’s Jessica Gunning says she felt ‘alien’ before coming out

Jessica Gunning, the star of Baby Reindeer, has candidly revealed her journey to self-acceptance and coming out as gay just 19 months ago. The actress, known for her role as the obsessive Martha Scott in the acclaimed Netflix series, spoke about the internal struggle she faced for years before embracing her true identity.

In a heartfelt admission on the Reign podcast, Jessica shared: “I came out in November 2022. And that was a mega, mega thing for me because I for so long…I am surrounded by gays, like all my friends are gay, so it wasn’t that I was repressing anything, it was just that I didn’t think that I could be.”

Reflecting on her past, she recounted moments that hinted at her sexuality, including her performance in the National Theatre’s 2019 production of ‘When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other’, where she shared an on-stage kiss with Cate Blanchett. Despite never being romantically linked publicly, Jessica now finds coming out to be a liberating experience.

She continued: “I still can’t articulate it in the best way but I realised I was a big, old gay. I was like, ‘That’s what it’s been, that’s what it is.’ And that was like a massive moment where everything kind of clicked and I made sense of myself then.”

Jessica also touched upon how her perception of herself, particularly regarding her size, impacted her journey. She said: “Because for so long I’d thought, ‘I know I’m a bigger woman’, and I thought that maybe it was to do with my size that I felt a bit like almost alien or like I was tagging along.

“But as soon as I realised, I was like ‘No, it’s that’, and that was like the most liberating thing.”

Jessica has reflected on her career and personal journey, revealing that there were several instances when she recognised signs of being part of the LGBTQ+ community.

In 2014, she was featured in the film Pride, which narrated the true story of LGBTQ+ activists who later became integral to the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign.

Recently, Jessica returned to television for the third series of Stephen Merchant’s The Outlaws, portraying Diane Pemberley, a former juvenile delinquent turned police community support officer.

“Jessica is the only person I can remember sending in an audition tape where I had no notes – it was perfect,” Stephen reminisced.

“We made her a writer on this series and Jessica wrote the last episode with me. I’m incredibly proud, it’s no surprise to me she’s now an international superstar. I’m just worried that when I want to work with her again, she won’t return my calls!

“I’ve worked with a lot of actors who’ve gone on to become superstars, and I wish there was something in their contract where I could get a piece of their future earnings because I helped them early on like Martin Freeman or Florence Pugh. Apparently that’s not allowed.”

Baby Reindeer is available to stream on Netflix now.

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