Was Lizzie Borden A Lesbian? New Details About Her 126-Year-Old Crime And Love Life Revealed In New Movie

Lizzie Borden took an ax...

Was Lizzie Borden Gay? Details New Lizzie Borden Movie Gay Relationship With Maid Getty Images

The tale of Lizzie Borden has captivated mystery lovers for years and now her story is hacking its way to theaters — with a twist.

The first official trailer for Lizzie was released Friday and it portrays the would-be ax-murderer as a lesbian in love with the family maid. The biopic suggests that their secret affair may have motivated Lizzie to kill her parents, though she was accused and later acquitted of the murders.


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The bloody massacre that shocked Massachusetts 126 years ago is spotlighted in the film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. The trailer provides a glimpse of the abuse Borden endured at the hands of her father, possible motives for such a gruesome crime, and the events leading up to her parents' demises. 

Chloë Sevigny executive-produced Lizzie, which she calls her passion project she's been working on since 2010 and stars in the movie as Borden. She is known for her roles in Will & GraceIf These Walls Could Talk 2, and Hit & Miss, in which she also played gay roles. Kristen Stewart, who is openly gay in real life, co-stars as Bridget Sullivan, or "Maggie," the live-in Irish maid who came to work for the Borden family and is rumored to have been Borden's lover.


"Lizzie Borden took an ax / And gave her mother forty whacks / When she saw what she had done / She gave her father forty-one." 

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A simple years-old song has stuck with Borden's tale, one of secret and allegedly lesbian passion that ends in two deaths and an unsolved crime.

“So much has been said [about Borden]," Sevigny told Huffington Post. "But I think that we just really wanted to focus on how she went about finding [her freedom] and how important that was to her and what that meant to her."

"Whether it was through the relationship with [her maid] or ultimately killing her parents for money ― because money equaled freedom then. It still does. I wanted it to be this rousing, smash-the-patriarchy piece, and then she gets everything she wants monetarily — the capitalist dream. She gets the house on the hill, and Bridget leaves her. Her sister leaves her. She ends up alone.”


While previous shows and documentaries have depicted Borden's hatred of patriarchal America, no other film (that I know of) has suggested a relationship between Borden and Bridget was the motivating factor that drove Borden to brutally kill her father, Andrew Borden, and stepmother, Abby Borden.

“I love the whole murder sequence,” she said. “And even the stiller shots, just seeing the ax in the bin. I think there’s some real beautiful work that [Craig] did, and dare I say elegant? [...] You almost want her to have this cathartic moment. It’s sexual.”

After she allegedly witnessed Borden hack her parents to death, Maggie disappeared — but not before she was questioned as the only witness to the horrific slaying. Not once did her testimony incriminate her possible lover, although she likely knew exactly who attacked the Bordens.


This is not the first film that focuses on the 19th-century life of Borden. In 2014, a Lifetime TV movie titled The Lizzie Borden Chronicles was released, which convinced HBO not to pick up Sevigny's film.

“You can’t imagine how heartbroken I was,” she said. “I was really like, I can’t go on. This is the end of days for me. It was an emotional roller coaster.”

Now it's Sevigny's time to shine. Watch the crime come to life in theaters September 14.


I most certainly will; I'm a distant relative of Lizzie Borden, according to my parents who love genealogy. 

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Sarah Gangraw is a travel-addicted cat lady who lives on black coffee and cheese. She has a degree in journalism and writes about all things news, entertainment and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter — she's occasionally funny.