Laverne Cox Reveals Why She Stopped Lying About Her Age After 20 Years

The Emmy-winning star had been referring to herself as simply "over 21" since her 30th birthday.

Laverne Cox has revealed why she decided to stop lying about her age after 20 years, in the lead-up to her milestone birthday.

The Emmy-winning actor told US talk show host Ellen DeGeneres that she first started lying about her age when she was 28, after being dumped for being “too old” by her 21-year-old then-boyfriend.

“I was like, ‘Oh, if I’m too old, I’ll just be 22’,” she explained.

From then on, Laverne – who will celebrate her 50th birthday in May – told everyone she was only 22 until the age of 30, after which she began referring to herself as simply “over 21”.

“So I was ‘over 21’ from 2002 to like 2019,” Laverne recalled. “And then IMDb figured out my real age, and so it started appearing places and it was freaking me out. I was having such anxiety.”

The Orange Is The New Black actor told Ellen she had fears about whether she would be “hireable” or “dateable” if people knew her true age, which she worked through with a therapist.

Laverne Cox
Laverne Cox
Jared Siskin via Getty Images

She finally declared her age publicly at a speaking engagement in 2019, and despite fearing the “sky was going to fall”, she added that the reaction to her real age was actually “like nothing”.

“It was a reminder that, in our heads, we might have shame about something and it’s, like, terrible and awful … and no one really cares,” Laverne said. “It’s all in our heads.

“So I am proudly 49, about to turn 50 and I’m so excited and happy to be able to own that.”

As the audience applauded, Laverne added: “To be real, I am a Black actress over 40 in Hollywood, so lying about my age is not completely insane.”

Laverne Cox speaking to Ellen
Laverne Cox speaking to Ellen
NBC

Laverne rose to global fame when she began playing Sophia in the Netflix prison drama Orange Is The New Black, a role which earned her an Emmy win.

Since then, she’s appeared as the lead in a remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the Oscar-winning film Promising Young Woman and the new Netflix drama Inventing Anna.

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