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The Juiciest Tidbits from Jane Lynch's New Memoir

“I don’t know why, but I was born with an extra helping of angst,” Jane Lynch writes in her new memoir, Happy Accidents, which hits shelves today. “I would love to be able to blame this on my parents, as I’m told this is good for book sales. But I can’t.” From early struggles with her “gay secret” to a not-so-healthy relationship with Miller Lite and Nyquil, the Glee star has a past that’s filled with inner turmoil and anxiety — but at least the suffering seems to have had a purpose: “Years later, with lots of distance, I saw my young self in one Sue Sylvester. Hell-bent on revenge and out to crush the dreams of the innocent, Sue is always looking for the next fight.” Click through for more fascinating revelations from Lynch’s entertaining new book.

On being a little girl: “Growing up, I didn’t feel like the other girls seemed to feel. I wanted to be a boy. I loved Halloween, because I could dress up as a guy — I was a hobo, a pirate, a ghost who wore a tie, and one year I was excited to dress as Orville Wright for a book report on the Wright Brothers. I went bare chested in the summers until I was eight and my mom finally pulled the plug on that… Watching Disney movies, I wanted to be the heroic prince — not the weak, girly, pathetic princess who always needed rescuing. I had no interest in being saved by a guy on a white horse.”

On entering into her first gay relationship: “Our relationship proceeded as smoothly as you’d expect between a teacher and a self-hating student who’s having her first-ever homosexual experience. I pulled her close, then pushed her away, then threw myself at her, then despised myself for doing it. I couldn’t stand to see her, and I couldn’t stand not to see her. I was tormented, guilt-ridden, ashamed… and out-of-my-mind excited. And I had no clue how to handle any one of these emotions, much less all of them together.”

On coming to terms with her drinking problem in grad school: “I had all four of my impacted wisdom teeth taken out while I was at Cornell, and I couldn’t drink for a while after the surgery because I was wiped out. I realized then that I had boozed it up every single day since my senior year of high school. I drank specifically to get drunk. I’d think nothing of tossing back a six-pack of Miller Lite — anything to get that merciful buzz.”


Jane Lynch, Christmas 1980

On how she differs from her characters: “I have to say, I don’t know why I am so frequently case in the role of an authority figure, since the core of these characters does not match mine. I don’t have the kind of confidence. I certainly don’t experience the level of delusional cockiness I can portray in a role. But authority is so often projected onto me, in art and life.”

On embarrassing herself on the set of Best in Show: “There was a tray of sushi nearby, so I grabbed a tuna roll and popped it into my mouth. Suddenly, a guy was running toward me going, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa!’ Turns out, it was prop sushi for the scene. One would have thought I was some hick tourist wandering blindly through the movie set rather than an actual, professional actor.”

On kissing Cybill Shepherd on The L Word: “She snuggled into my armpit, and I made a joke about how well we’d shaved our underarms for each other. When it came time for the kissing, in her spirited attempt to get past the discomfort, Cybill wound up taking the lead and dove in with enthusiasm, cutting me off with kisses before I could finish any of my lines.”

On the birth of Party Down: “In June of 2007, we all got together at Rob [Thomas]‘s house in the Hollywood Hills and shot the first episode of Party Down. Because they were paying for it themselves, the pilot was shot on a shoestring budget. Between shots we all hung out in Rob’s bedroom getting to know each other and laughing a lot. I’ve found that doing something for fun and almost for free (we each got $100 for the day) can bring out the best in people. Plus, there’s nothing like undressing in front of folks you just met to inspire humility and togetherness.”

On creating her character on Glee: “Ryan [Murphy] had no difficulty showing me who Sue was to be, and he could completely bring to life Sue’s outlandish haughtiness and arrogance. I embraced the lawlessness. With this newfound tone of extremity still wafting about my person, I fairly strutted through the hallway back to my trailer. Catching my reflection in the glass of a trophy case, I gave myself a snarl. I was enjoying myself immensely and felt as if my whole life had been meant to lead me here, to this show, this character, this moment.”