In a new interview, Samira Wiley and her fiancée, Lauren Morelli, share the story of their romance and how they got engaged.
Morelli is a writer for the show, Orange Is The New Black, on which Wiley portrayed the character of Poussey Washington.
Before they even met on set, Morelli admits: “I’d already seen Samira’s audition tape and immediately had a crush on her.”
Wiley says that she felt the same way when they began working together. “We were sitting in the prison cafeteria for a scene, eating some stale noodles, and like a kindergartner, I came and put a noodle on her ear — anything to see her smile,” says Wiley.
When they first realized there was an attraction between them, Morelli was married to a man. “‘I had started questioning my sexuality as a result of being in the writers’ room and talking about all the themes on the show. I was very open with my husband and told him. That turned into a year of going to couples therapy.”
Morelli adds: “I had a few queer women around me, but not many I could talk to about such a huge, vulnerable thing. Samira became my outlet, and through that process I fell in love with her. Being with her felt too good to be true.”
Wiley admits that she was a bit guarded at the beginning of their relationship. “‘I was scared to be the first to say ‘I love you,’ so I did a little pussy version. I said, ‘I heart you.” Lauren actually wrote this line into one of the OITNB scenes, where Alex says it to Piper.
After three years together, though, Lauren knew that the time was right to propose. Samira lovingly recalls the memory of their engagement:
“She asked me to sit next to her. Then she got me up, and we started dancing together, and she pulled a ring from behind the couch. Lauren has been married before, so I wanted her to tell me she was ready, her to be the one to propose. I didn’t know she was as ready as she was. I was completely shocked. I was crying uncontrollably and kept backing away from her.”