American actress and model Samira Wiley began her professional career in 2011 and two years later she made her big breakthrough with her role as the romantic convict Poussey Washington on Netflix’ Orange Is the New Black. Wiley won many hearts with this role, but her horrible death and departure were not well received by many. She consolidated her place in the spotlight with the role of the seemingly unbreakable Moira in the dystopian Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale. For the latter role, she received the 2018 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. Wiley is one of the few openly gay black women in Hollywood. We will talk here about her career as well as her romantic life with her wife Lauren Morelli.
Samira Wiley Bio
Samira Denise Wiley was born on 15 April 1987 in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Baptist Pastors Christine and Dennis W. Wiley. When Wiley revealed her gay sexuality to her parents, they gave her their full support. Wiley has two siblings, Joshua Wiley and Aiyana Ma’at.
Samira Wiley knew at a very young age that she wanted to be professionally active. To realize her dreams, Wiley studied at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. She attended Temple University and the Juilliard School in New York, where she earned a BFA. After Juilliard School, Wiley appeared in theater productions before making her screen debut in 2011. She starred in the film comedy The Sitter and had small roles in the series Unforgettable and Person of Interest.
Wiley was informed about the casting for OITNB by a Juilliard graduate, Marco Ramirez, who was booked as a writer for the series. In addition, another of her friend Danielle Brooks got an acting role in the series, which inspired Wiley to audition.
Her character began as a recurring role but quickly gained more time on the screen. Eventually, she became a fan favorite in the series. In season 4 she was killed, much to the dismay of the fans.
While she was on the show, the actress was able to book other appearances in her spare time. These included movies; Rob the Mob, Nerve, and shows; The Catch, and You’re the Worst. Her next major role was that of Moira in The Handmaid’s Tale.
Is She Married, Who is The Wife – Lauren Morelli?
Samira Wiley is married to Lauren Morelli. The couple entered into the bond of marriage on March 25, 2017, in an intimate ceremony in Palm Springs, California. On their big day, the couple wore outfits designed by Christian Siriano. The wedding ceremony was performed by Wiley’s parents, Dr. Dennis and Christine Wiley, both Baptist ministers. They were former co-pastors of the Covenant Baptist Church, which in 2007 was the only church in D.C. that married LGBTQ couples.
Wiley and Morelli first met on the set of Orange Is The New Black. The show offered Morelli, a former dancer, her first professional appearance as a writer, and the first episode she wrote was the first to feature Wiley’s character, Poussey Washington.
After their marriage, Samira Wiley revealed to BUST magazine that she had only fallen in love with Morelli’s thoughts after reading her script, i.e. before they met. When she saw her on the set for the first time, the attraction on her part was immediately noticeable. However, at that time Morelli was still married to another man, a man named Steve Basilone.
Morelli married Steve in 2012, but filed for divorce from him in September 2014 and became openly lesbian. When Wiley took on her OITNB role, she was still a closed lesbian. She was accidentally outed by a co-star during an interview, which, as Wiley later explained, broke her heart and robbed her of the opportunity to come out on her own terms.
After their first meeting on set, a close friendship between the two began, which soon led to constant flirting and eventually to a romantic relationship. Wiley says that Morelli’s boldness in terms of her sexuality helped her feel more comfortable as a lesbian. During the first months of their friendship, the two discussed their individual journey with their sexuality, which acted as a catalyst for their romance.
On October 4, 2016, after a few years of dating, Morelli asked Wiley to marry her, a moment that Wiley describes as the most magical moment of her life. Wiley’s wife, a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, born July 22, 1982, had the desire to become a professional dancer. After college, she studied dance at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City until a back injury tragically ended her career.
She was encouraged by a college professor to consider writing as a career, and after writing a handful of short films, she received the OITNB award. She received two nominations from the Writers Guild of America for her work on the hit series.
Samira Wiley and her wife Laura Morelli live together in a bungalow in California.