Coronation Street star Shelley King is living proof it’s never too late to come out
Coronation Street star Shelley King has opened up about growing up without lesbian visibility in media and coming out to her parents aged 42.
King wrote a candid essay for Metro that she was “called a tomboy as a child” but realised that the “term didn’t capture me completely”. As she entered her teenage years, she became “increasingly angry with the world and myself”. She tried to find “some representation” about lesbians in media and began to read books and watch films and plays “all about women who were attracted to other women”.
“But this was the early 70s and nothing I stumbled across seemed to have a happy ending,” King explained.
The Coronation Street star said she thought that she would “come into contact with gay women” after she became a professional actor. Again, she “had no luck”. Instead, she developed “self-destructive crushes on women who would never return the feelings”.
But she eventually met her partner, Trilby, “24 years ago”, and she said it was an “inexorable attraction” “almost instantly”. Shelley King said the pair are “soulmates” and described their connection as “if there’s an umbilical cord between us”.
Shortly after they got together, King shared that she came out to her parents at the age of 42. She recalled that her parents “were not in the least surprised”.
“I want to tell other people considering coming out to never be afraid of who you are,” King explained. “Whatever the circumstance, the people who really love you will support you.”
Shelley King is known for her roles as Jay Harper on BBC’s Angels, which ran from 1979 to 1983, and as Yasmeen Nazir on the popular, long-running ITV soap opera Coronation Street.
In a 2018 interview with This Morning, King recalled that Angels‘ producers “suggested” that they would “make my character gay”, but she said she “just wasn’t ready” for that at the time.
“The world was a different world,” King said. “I didn’t even know how to deal with my own sexuality then.”
She remembered being rejected from a “lesbian” club because they were a bit “suspicious” of her, and she was wearing her “best dress”. King said it was a “different” world back then because “people were put into boxes”.
“I think it’s getting hugely better, but I still think it’s still got a long way to go,” King said.