After years of dodging rumors that she can’t read, Glee and Funny Girl star Lea Michele might have proved that she actually can.
Michele has participated in the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Storyline Online series, reading the children’s book Rosie Revere, Engineer aloud on video. The series aims to grow children’s literacy by having videos and supplemental curriculum available online 24 hours a day.
The video does indeed show Michele reading the book, and puts on a convincing performance (her skills as an actress were never in question). But what if she’s once again reading lines she memorized after someone else read them to her? I guess we’ll never know.
So, where did the rumor that Michele can’t read begin? It all started with the pop culture podcast One More Thing in 2017. The hosts, Jaye Hunt and Robert Ackerman, had read Naya Rivera’s tell-all about her time working on Glee with Michele.
In the book, Rivera tells a story about when comedian Tim Conway guested on the show and wanted to improvise some takes. Michele refused to improvise, and would only stick to the lines she had memorized, getting so upset about the request that she made Conway’s granddaughter cry.
When they looked for Michele’s response to the claims, they couldn’t find one, and actually couldn’t find any evidence that Michele had read anything in the book at all.
“Maybe she can’t read so she can’t read the book” Ackerman said to Jezebel at the time.
Michele began her broadway career in Les Miserables at just eight years old, so the rumor says that she never learned to read or write, and now, she just pays people to do those things for her.
Other evidence includes videos of Michele signing her name where her name appears to be prewritten for her, underlining the name or floating her sharpie just above the page. Additionally, she’s released two books, Brunette Ambition, and You: Journal Your Way to Your Best Life, and both contain more photos, recipes, and workouts than actual writing.
The fact that she went from working on Glee with Ryan Murphy to working on Scream Queens added fuel to the fire, as fans believe that Murphy knows her secret and would read lines to her until she memorized them.
So, what does Michele think of these rumors? Well, she’s addressed them a few times.
Michele was recently speaking to a crowd that included high school students when she said, “You don’t have to go to college to be in theater. I didn’t go to college you guys, and look at me…There is a rumor online that I cannot read or write, which may have something to do with the fact I didn’t go to college.”
Now we have video evidence that she can read. However, we also have video evidence of ghosts, Bigfoot, and UFOs, and plenty of people don’t believe in those.