When Magda Szubanski came out as a lesbian on national TV just over a year ago, she was expecting to feel relieved, but she had no idea just how much the admission would change her life.
Magda, 51, had been keeping her sexuality a secret from her devoted fans for decades — so long that she didn't realise how it was affecting her life until she confessed.
"As time's gone on this year and I've become more comfortable, I feel such relief, I can't tell you," she tells the March issue of The Australian Women's Weekly.
"I hadn't realised how tense I had been for so long. I feel like there's nothing to hide now."
Despite her relief at finally coming out, Magda says she initially regretted her decision to tell-all on TV.
"To come out nationally was a huge step," she says. "Most lesbians I know will tell you that there are times when they just put their earrings on and pretend they're just two ladies who are friends. But I don't have that any more. Coming out to 20-odd million people is not an experience that I have in common with terribly many people.
"I think there's a kind of collective fantasy about what it's like, that you come out and it's 'Ha-lle-lu-jah' [she sings] and everything's fine. But it doesn't really work like that. I almost had buyer's regret afterwards, thinking 'uhhh … what have I done?' Because it just feels so permanent and irrevocable. Initially, I felt really vulnerable, to be honest."
One year later, Magda is thrilled to confirm that "people have been overwhelmingly supportive", aside from a few negative comments, which she feels strong enough to brush off.
What's more, there has been no backlash to date in terms of her career. "I'm still working. But there's still a little bit of me that's waiting for it."
Read more of this story in the March issue of The Australian Women's Weekly.