Lea Michele Shares How She's Changed Since Scandal -- and Tackles Rumor She Can't Read

Michele opened up days ahead of her 'Funny Girl' debut as Fanny Brice on Sept. 6.

Lea Michele is less than a week away from making her Funny Girl debut as Fanny Brice, but before embarking on that role, the actress' past has once again come under scrutiny.

In a new interview with The New York Times, the 36-year-old addressed past allegations that she was at the forefront of creating a toxic work environment, particularly during her time on the Fox hit show Glee. While she didn't address any of the specific allegations, Michele did try to offer an insight into her work process that may have rubbed co-stars the wrong way.

"I have an edge to me," she tells The New York Times. "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."

Some of the accusations came from co-star Samantha Marie Ware, who accused Michele of making her "first television gig a living hell." Ware played Jane Hayward on 11 episodes of Glee in 2015 and Michele portrayed Rachel Berry for all six seasons.

Ware had also claimed that Michele "told everyone that if you had the opportunity you would 's**t in my wig!' among other traumatic micro aggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood."

Michele responded at the time, saying, "I don't remember ever making this specific statement," but Ware wasn't the only one who lobbed similar accusations. Glee star Heather Morris also spoke out against Michele's behavior as did Michele's former Spring Awakening co-star on Broadway, Gerard Canonico.

Michele tells The New York Times that, after "intense time of reflection," she's realizing that being a professional isn't limited to only when the cameras are rolling.

"I really understand the importance and value now of being a leader," says Michele, who is replacing Beanie Feldstein in Funny Girl. "It means not only going and doing a good job when the camera's rolling, but also when it's not. And that wasn't always the most important thing for me."

Michele also addressed rumors about her reading ability. That rumor started circulating in 2018 after a couple of podcasters shared the theory on Facebook. Michele refuted the claim while adding that the rumor itself is sexist.

"I went to Glee every single day; I knew my lines every single day," she says. "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."

After the rumor surfaced, Michele appeared on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, where a fan called into the show and asked her head-on about rumors that she's illiterate. Michele said she was baffled that someone would put together a 45-minute video conjuring up this conspiracy theory. She refuted the rumor by saying, among other things, that she got accepted into NYU and that even Glee creator Ryan Murphy called her after the rumors surfaced and asked her, "Do people think I have time in my life to do this?"



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