Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli – theirs was an identity-affirming relationship according to the latter. “I had started questioning my sexuality… Samira became my outlet, and through that process, I fell in love with her.”
How Did Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli Meet?
Though the actress and the dialogist first came face to face on the New York soundstage where Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black was filmed, there already existed a mutual – and complicated – admiration society.
Says Wiley, “I was really attracted to Lauren’s mind…before I met Lauren the person. I got her script and I was like, ‘This person’s really talented, I can’t wait to meet this person.'”
Morelli was similarly smitten. “I’d already seen Samira’s audition tape and immediately had a crush on her – the complication being that I was married to a man at the time.”
Morelli’s status as a missus and her bourgeoning sexuality were stumbling blocks, but she and Wiley traversed them together. The latter clearly remembers “those first few months with her, trying to figure out her journey…”
“It wasn’t sexual, it was just like a friend. There was something deeply intimate about that, whether there was sexual tension there or not. The deep intimacy of being two people talking about the core of who we are. Talking about our journeys.”
In time, Morelli divorced her husband, rented an apartment all her own, and began dating Wiley, who was the first to say, ‘I love you,’ albeit in a circuitous way. “I was scared…so I did a little [expletive] version. I said, ‘I heart you,’ which actually ended up in one of Lauren’s Orange scripts.”
The Big Question
The two eventually moved in together and weathered a fractious vacation to India – “We showed our true selves – maybe the ugliest, nastiest parts… We always say it’s amazing we survived that trip.”
For Wiley, the experience solidified her feelings for Morelli. “It helped me know I want to be with her – because she could see all these parts of me and still want to be with me.”
In October of 2016, Morelli popped the question. “I knew we were gonna be apart for a while — so we’d planned this trip to Palm Springs… I realized I could propose right before and then we’d have the weekend there to celebrate. I found a ring, and they shipped it to me, and it was as if someone had handed me a ball of fire and said, ‘Here, tend to this.’”
Wiley happily agreed and soon after, the pair took to Instagram to show off the engagement bauble and reveal to their fans and followers that Wiley had said, “Yes.”
The Big Day
Five months later, Wiley and Morelli were wed. The ceremony was a small intimate affair officiated by Wiley’s parents. The brides – both draped in stunning designs by Christian Siriano – exited the deeming to This Is How We Do It by Montell Jordan and entered their reception area to the beat of Justin Bieber’s Baby.
Of the special day, Wiley would later comment that she had wanted it to be “about celebration and funfetti cake!” The subsequent honeymoon was a tour of Italy with a quick pitstop at Disneyland.
Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli – Proud and Loud
While many in-love celebrities choose to keep their relationships as private as possible, Wiley and Morelli have always taken the opposite approach. From their frequent social media posts to their public displays of affection as well as their multiple joint interviews, this couple is unabashedly out – and with very good reason.
In an interview with USA Today, Wiley explained, “Lauren and I both really believe in LGBT visibility… The way that we live our lives, the way that we post pictures of each other… Sometimes I don’t feel like we’re doing something that’s so radical. We’re just living our lives. But in these times, it is radical, because people have not felt comfortable just living their lives.”