There's always a lot of hullabaloo in Hollywood when an actor "comes out," or reveals their label of choice in public. When Amber Heard brought her girlfriend with her to a GLAAD event in 2010, many assumed that the actress had "come out." Speaking to a reporter at the event, Heard said, "I think GLAAD is one of the many reasons that I, as a 24-year-old, can come out." According to a more recent interview, though, this wasn't Heard "coming out," per se. This was just an actress talking to a reporter about an event. Nevertheless, Heard received flak for the admission.
"I could tell by the look on this person's face it was a big deal," she said at The Economist's second annual Pride & Prejudice event Thursday, E! Online reports. "My poor publicist. Then I realized the gravity of what I had done and why so many people — studio execs, agents, advisors — did not want this coming before my name."
According to Heard, execs balked at the label "bisexual," which Heard actively claims. The 30-year-old said that the term is deemed "problematic" when associated with a leading lady's name.
"As a leading lady, there's a certain amount of wish fulfillment. I was asked, 'How is anyone going to invest in you romantically if they think you're unavailable?" Heard said. The logic here is that if an audience knows a woman is sexually fluid, they won't be able to "invest" in a heteronormative fantasy.
Of course, this hasn't been true. Heard has experienced lasting success in the industry, with films like The Danish Girl and The Rum Diaries under her belt. Next up, she'll star in Aquaman, a film in the DC Comics 'verse. Heard will play Mera, queen of Atlantis and wife of Aquaman, who will be played by Jason Momoa.
This doesn't negate the fact that bisexuality is largely seen as, to borrow a word from Heard, "problematic." According to a 2016 study, bisexual women are more vulnerable to college campus sexual assault. In terms of entertainment, television shows like The Real O'Neals have come under fire for enjoying "biphobic" humor. But for every biphobic joke, there's a successful bi character on television. There's Clarke from The 100, Callie Torres from Grey's Anatomy, Kalinda from The Good Wife, William on This Is Us, and Stella Gibson on The Fall, to name a few. In terms of bisexual actors in Hollywood, we have Bella Thorne, Amandla Stenberg, and Sara Ramirez, among others. Progress may be slow going, but if recent history is any indication, what's problematic today won't be for much longer.