One Tree Hill star Sophia Bush comes out as queer after divorcing husband

Actor said she faced ‘violent threats’ over relationship rumours

Ellie Muir
Friday 26 April 2024 10:42 BST
One Tree Hill star Sophia Bush comes out after divorcing husband

Sophia Bush has come out as queer in a self-written article explaining the story behind her divorce.

In 2023, the actor’s personal life was under the spotlight after she divorced her husband of one year, Grant Hughes, and was seen to be in a relationship with a woman, former US soccer player Ashlyn Harris, months later.

Writing in a personal essay for Glamour magazine, the 41-year-old One Tree Hill actor explained the story behind her divorce and her journey towards coming out as queer.

“I sort of hate the notion of having to come out in 2024,” she wrote. “I think I’ve always known that my sexuality exists on a spectrum. Right now I think the word that best defines it is queer. I can’t say it without smiling, actually. And that feels pretty great.”

Bush explained she experienced emotional and physical turmoil when she realised that her marriage to Hughes was breaking down.

The Chicago P.D actor said she was close to calling off her wedding in April 2022, but decided to stay in the relationship and “double down on being a model wife”.

Sophia Bush and her ex-husband Grant Hughes photographed in March 2023
Sophia Bush and her ex-husband Grant Hughes photographed in March 2023 (Getty Images)

“I kept repeating the adages we all know so well: Relationships are hard. Marriage takes compromise. You know the rest. And so I got married. We threw one of the greatest wedding weekends ever... I don’t regret any of that.”

Bush said she underwent a gruelling fertility journey after facing difficulties conceiving, and lost track of how many examination tables she had laid upon during the process.

At this point, she wrote, she realised that her marriage was the wrong decision.

“I felt something in me seismically shift. Six months into that [fertility] journey, I think I knew deep down that I absolutely had made a mistake. It would take my head and heart a while longer to understand what my bones already knew.”

Bush explained that the state of her marriage was why she took the opportunity to relocate to London from her US home to star in 2:22 A Ghost Story in the summer of 2023.

Bush said she left for London to star in ‘2:22 A Ghost Story’ as her marriage was breaking down
Bush said she left for London to star in ‘2:22 A Ghost Story’ as her marriage was breaking down (Getty Images)

“I had to get out of our house. I had to get onstage,” she wrote.

While she “loved every second” of performing, she fell ill when half of the cast was struck with Covid-19 and she faced a serious health episode as she struggled to recover.

“I spent multiple nights in the hospital, I was pumped with endless amounts of fluids, I underwent cardiac testing and organ monitoring. It was clear that my body was screaming and I had to listen.”

Bush said that by the time she pulled out of the show, she knew her marriage was over and it “all came crashing down at once”.

Throughout the separation, she said she surrounded herself with a support system of women, but didn’t expect to find love with her friend, soccer player Harris, who she met in 2019.

“I didn’t expect to find love in this support system,” Bush wrote. “I don’t know how else to say it other than: I didn’t see it until I saw it.”

“It really took other people in our safe support bubble pointing out to me how we’d finish each other’s sentences or be deeply affected by the same things.”

Bush eventually got the courage to ask Harris to meet up individually to talk about how they felt, and said the subsequent four-hour-long dinner they had was “one of the most surreal experiences of my life thus far”.

Bush’s partner, former US soccer player Ashlyn Harris
Bush’s partner, former US soccer player Ashlyn Harris (Getty Images)

However, Bush said that in the days she was processing her sexuality, vicious rumours began circulating about her divorce and her relationship with Harris.

“What felt like seconds after I started to see what was in front of me, the online rumour mill began to spit in the ugliest ways. There were blatant lies. Violent threats.”

Bush said that the idea that she left her marriage for some “hysterical rendezvous” wasn’t the case.

“The ones who said I’d left my ex because I suddenly realised I wanted to be with women – my partners have known what I’m into for as long as I have (so that’s not it, y’all, sorry!).”

Bush said that she feels at “home” in the queer community.

“I’m deeply aware that we are having this conversation in a year when we’re seeing the most aggressive attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community in modern history,” she said.

“There were more than 500 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills proposed in state legislatures in 2023, so for that reason I want to give the act of coming out the respect and honour it deserves.”

“I’ve experienced so much safety, respect, and love in the queer community, as an ally all of my life, that, as I came into myself, I already felt it was my home.”

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