Why Idina Menzel Says Playing Lea Michele’s Mom on Glee “Wasn’t Great” for Her Ego

Glee alum Idina Menzel reflected on the moment she got the call to play Lea Michele’s mom on the hit series: "It just wasn't great for the ego, but I sucked it up."

By Kisha Forde Aug 14, 2023 12:15 PMTags
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There's just one detail Idina Menzel wasn't all that gleeful about when it came to playing Shelby Corcoran.

As a refresher, the Broadway star joined the cast of the hit series Glee in 2010, landing the role of Lea Michele's biological mom when she was 38, while her costar was in her 20s. And though she was thrilled to join the show, as Idina explained, she also was more than eager to work on another project after welcoming her son due to the worry of not being able "to work again" after pregnancy.

"I had my son Walker and then three months later, I got the call," Idina, who shares her son with ex Taye Diggs, said during the Aug. 11 episode of Stellar Magazine's Something to Talk About podcast. "And so I said, ‘yes.'"

As she noted, "You're worried you're not going to work again, and then people hire you to be someone's mother when you probably should be their older sister. It just wasn't great for the ego, but I sucked it up and sucked myself into my clothes and was excited to work with Ryan Murphy and be a part of that hit show."

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The Frozen star reflected on the logistics surrounding her role on the show as the rival coach previously, describing it as "bittersweet" in 2016.

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"The gig came three months after I popped a baby out," she said during a Tribeca Film Festival event at the time. "So, I felt fat as all hell, and I was Lea Michele's mom—like, could I just be her older sister? She wasn't as young as she was playing so it was like, ‘Really, I'm her mom?'"

However, she also emphasized that her overall experience on the series was a notable one.

"I was happy to be there and work with those people," she shared. "But I had to get over myself a little bit."

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