has been in a relationship with girlfriend Clare Munn for more than a year, but she once dated men and even had a son with a man. The actress opened up to ET about the talk she had with her son
about her sexual orientation.
"One of my best teachers is my son, Jackson," Maria told ET. "When he was 12 years old and I told him I was in a romantic relationship with a woman who was like a godmother to him, I didn't know what he would say. He smiled at me and simply said, 'Whatever, mom. Love is love.'"
Her son's encouraging words provided the title for Maria's book, Whatever...Love Is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves. The memoir is in stores now and shares her personal journey through partnership, love, family and her battle with bipolar disorder.
"I think that my disease, since I'm medicated, is a gift, because I've gone so far through extremes -- from the very bottom to the very top of human emotion and feeling," Maria said. "I think that I am more empathetic because of it."
While Maria opens up many old wounds in the hardcover, it wasn't her own life details that she was concerned about getting out, it was her father's. In the book, Maria says that her dad Joe was abusive and an alcoholic when she was little.
"The thing that I was most nervous about writing the book was about my father," Maria said. "He had a lot of issues growing up, including mental illness and addiction and I didn't want to hurt his feelings. He happened to be the first one to read the book. He said, 'Maria, I think the chapter with me in it is really good. It's just the stuff about the sex I didn't like so much.'"
One of Maria's goals in the book and in life is to get people to see others for who they are without labels.
"I feel like what I can model for my son is to be my most authentic, truthful self," Maria said. "Perhaps that will inspire him to always be his most honest self."
to read an excerpt from Whatever...Love Is Love