Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli: Orange Is The New Black writer to divorce husband and be with actress after realising she is gay

The scriptwriter said creating the story line of the hit series, set in a women's prison, helped her to come to terms with her own sexuality

Jenn Selby@JennSelby
Tuesday 16 September 2014 16:24
Lauren Morelli and Samira Wiley made their first public appearance together at the Emmy Awards in August 2014
Lauren Morelli and Samira Wiley made their first public appearance together at the Emmy Awards in August 2014

Lauren Morelli, the lead writer of hit prison drama Orange Is The New Black, has filed for divorce from her husband of two years, Steve Basilone, after realising that she is actually gay.

The couple had been together for six years – and married for five months – when she came to terms with her sexuality midway through creating the characters for the popular the Netflix series, TMZ reports.

After the pair had separated, she fell in love with one of the stars of the show, Samira Wiley, famed for her role as the loyal Poussey Washington.

The couple made their first public appearance together at the Emmy Awards at the end of August.

Morelli officially came out in May 2014.

Writing for, she said that she had used the storyline of Season Two, which saw the characters Piper (Taylor Schilling) and Alex (Laura Prepon) fall back in love with each other, to explore her own feelings.

Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli pictured at an Emmys afterparty in August 2014

“In Piper and Alex, I'd found a mouthpiece for my own desires and a glimmer of what my future could look like.

“And once the show actually started filming, there was no question how she really felt.

“I realized[sic] I was gay in fall 2012, one of my first days on the set.

“I went through it all on set: I fell in love with a woman, and I watched my life play out on screen. And now, as we are gearing up for the release of Season 2, it feels liberating and appropriate to live my life in front of you.”

Far from a bitter divorce settlement, Basilone, a TV producer, described Morelli as his “best friend” and encouraged fans to watch Orange Is The New Black. The documents published by TMZ also reflect that the couple parted on amicable terms, and have already equally divided their property.

The news comes weeks after another of the show’s stars, Lea DeLaria, who plays ‘Big Boo on the show, told The Independent it was high time society ended the negative stigma associated with “being a butch lesbian”.

“Being butch is still a dirty little secret, but it’s how some of us are,” she said.

“We can’t forget where we came from. We need to put a positive face on it and it all comes from this international homophobia, that are only certain things are good; that you can’t be that type of lesbian. It’s important for me to communicate that there’s nothing bad about being gay.”

Read the interview in full here.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments