Lea Michele Addressed The Rumor That She Doesn't Know How To Read

The Glee alum called the rumor sexist and “sad.”

Lea Michele attends the 75th Annual Tony Awards at the Radio City Music Hall on June 12, 2022, in Ne...

If you’ve been on the Internet the last few years, you’ve likely heard one of the strangest celebrity rumors around: that Glee star Lea Michele can’t read or write. Ahead of her opening night in Funny Girl on Broadway, Michele has responded to the rumors.

For the uninitiated, the rumors stem from a 2017 episode of the podcast One More Thing. The podcast hosts Jaye Hunt and Robert Ackerman were discussing an anecdote in Michele’s late Glee co-star Naya Rivera’s book in which she claims Michele refused to improvise scenes on set with veteran actor Tom Conway. Hunt and Ackerman’s discussion took a comical turn when they joked that the reason for her lack of spontaneity on set was because she couldn’t read and she memorized her lines by having someone read them to her out loud.

This aside turned into something much bigger when the pair expanded on the “evidence” via a 40-minute Facebook Live conversation (which has now been taken down), which rampantly spread to every corner of the Internet. The creators admitted to Jezebel that they don’t actually believe their own theory — it was more of an exploration of her childhood as a successful Broadway star where school might not have been at the forefront.

Lea Michele as Rachel Berry on Glee, reading a book in a flashback scene from the finale. FOX/FOX Image Collection/Getty Images

So after years of keeping quiet, Michele has finally addressed the illiteracy rumors, calling them sexist and “sad.” “I went to Glee every single day,” Michele said in a New York Times interview. “I knew my lines every single day. And then there’s a rumor online that I can’t read or write? It’s sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn’t be the case.”

Michele is back in the limelight as she takes over the role of Fanny Brice from Beanie Feldstein in Broadway’s production of Funny Girl. The role, which Barbra Streisand originated, has reportedly been an object of Michele’s desire for a long time; the obsession even manifested in her Glee character Rachel Berry. Michele was attached to star in a 2017 revival of the show, but this never came to fruition and people were quick to comment on her being passed up again when Feldstein’s casting was initially announced. But after less-than-favorable reviews during Feldstein’s reign, Michele is finally about to step in.

Michele previously made headlines when her Glee castmates accused her of creating a hostile work environment on the set of the hit show. Samantha Ware tweeted in 2020 about how Michele made her time on the show “a living hell,” which prompted other Glee stars to come forward with their own stories. Michele issued a vague apology though she did not directly address any of the claims from her former co-stars.

In her New York Times interview, she seemed to touch on this again saying, “I have an edge to me. I work really hard. I leave no room for mistakes. That level of perfectionism, or that pressure of perfectionism, left me with a lot of blind spots.”