American actress and model, Samira Wiley began her professional career in 2011 and two years later, she landed her big break with her role as a romantic convict Poussey Washington Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black. Wiley won many hearts with that role, however, her horrible death and exit didn’t sit well with many. She went on to solidify her place in the limelight playing the seemingly unbreakable Moira in the Hulu dystopian series The Handmaid’s Tale. The latter role won her 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. Here, we will talk about her career as well as her romantic life with wife, Lauren Morelli.
Samira Wiley Bio
Samira Denise Wiley was born on the 15th day of April 1987, in Washington, D.C. to Baptist ministers, 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 from a very young age that she wanted to act professionally. To bring her dreams to fruition, Wiley studied at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. She attended Temple University as well as New York’s Juilliard School where she earned a BFA. Post-Juilliard, Wiley acted in theater productions before making her screen debut in 2011. She appeared in the comedy film, The Sitter and had small parts in the series; Unforgettable and Person of Interest.
Wiley was informed of the casting for OITNB by a fellow Juilliard grad, Marco Ramirez who was booked as a writer for the show. Also, another of her friend Danielle Brooks got an acting role on the show which then inspired Wiley to audition.
Her character started out as a recurring role but was quickly given more screen time. Ultimately she became a fan favorite on the show. She was killed off in the 4th season much to the dismay of fans.
While on the show, the actress got to book other gigs during her free time. They included films; Rob the Mob, Nerve, as well as shows; The Catch, and You’re the Worst. Her next big role would be 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 tied the knot on the 25th of March 2017 in an intimate ceremony held in Palm Springs, California. On their big day, the pair donned outfits designed by Christian Siriano. Their wedding was officiated by Wiley’s parents, Drs. Dennis and Christine Wiley both Baptist ministers. They were formerly co-pastors of Covenant Baptist church which in 2007 was the only church in D.C to wed 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 writing gig and the first episode she wrote was the first to involve Wiley’s character, Poussey Washington.
Post-Marriage, Samira Wiley revealed to BUST Magazine that she had first fallen in love with Morelli’s mind after reading her script which was even before they met. Upon seeing her on set for the first time, the attraction on her part was instant. However, Morelli at the time was still married to another, a man named Steve Basilone.
Morelli married Steve in 2012 but filed for a divorce from him in September 2014 and became openly lesbian. When Wiley had taken up her OITNB role, she was still a closeted lesbian. She was accidentally outed by a co-star during an interview, something that Wiley later explained broke her heart and robbed her of the opportunity to come out on her terms.
Following their initial meeting on set, the pair began a close friendship that soon led to constant flirtings and ultimately a romantic relationship. Wiley says Morelli’s boldness with her sexuality helped her become more comfortable as a lesbian. In the early months of friendship, the pair discussed with each other their individual journey with their sexuality which acted as a catalyst to their romance.
On October 4th, 2016 following a couple of years of dating, Morelli asked for Wiley’s hand, a moment Wiley describes as the most magical moment of her life. Wiley’s wife, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native born on the 22nd of July 1982 had aspired to become a professional dancer. Post-College, she studied dance at New York City’s Marymount Manhattan College until a back injury tragically truncated her career.
She was encouraged by a college professor to consider writing as a career and after penning a handful of short films, she earned the OITNB gig. She earned two nominations from the Writers Guild of America for her work on the hit series.
Samira Wiley and wife Laura Morelli live together in a bungalow in California.