Inside The Rumors That Marcia Cross & Lauren Graham Were In A Secret Relationship

Both later married men, but rumors Marcia Cross & Lauren Graham were in love swirled for years.

Lauren Graham and Marcia Cross DFree / Shutterstock, PSPhatcha, artpacker via Canva

Celebrity gay rumors are as old as Hollywood itself, going all the way back to 1910s stars of silent film era.

So it should be no surprise that there's still interest in old hearsay about certain stars having been in secret LGBTQ relationships—like Marcia Cross and Lauren Graham.

Both have since gone on to have long relationships with men—Graham split with "Parenthood" costar Peter Krause last month after years together.


And Cross, who currently stars on the series "Monarch," has been married since 2006 to stockbroker Tom Mahoney, with whom she has two children.

But the two were the subject of constant speculation in the 2000s, at the height of their fame, in gossipy blind items and supposed insider reports that linked them together in a secret lesbian romance.

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But nowadays, when queer visibility in film and television is at a level that would have been unthinkable even 10 years ago, the rumors seem a bit old-fashioned.


Sure, two A-list actresses coming out publicly in a relationship together would probably still make waves today.

But it's hard to imagine it rising to the level of scandal it like would have back in the 2000s, when the rumors about Cross and Graham first surfaced.

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Did Marcia Cross and Lauren Graham date?

The early 2000s found both Graham and Cross at the height of their fame.

Cross was one of the stars of the campy, soapy prime-time dramedy "Desperate Housewives," a runaway sensation for pretty much its entire eight-season run.

Graham, meanwhile, was the co-star, along with Alexis Bledel, of the series "Gilmore Girls," a show is still so beloved that it was revived by Netflix in 2016.


But while Graham had been a TV fixture for years, Cross had been working in relative obscurity for several years following the end of "Melrose Place" in the late 1990s.

The sensation "Desperate Housewives" created when it debuted in 2004 launched her to household-name status. And with that new level of fame quickly came gay rumors.

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Rumors of Marcia Cross and Lauren Graham dating first began to swirl in 2005.

Rumors about Cross and Graham began as blind items on Hollywood gossip blogs like "Oh No They Didn't" back in 2005.

A report on that blog just after season one of "Desperate Housewives" wrapped declared "Marcia Cross is Gay," linking her to an unnamed "brunette actress from another top US show."


The rumor was believed to be linked to a plot point on "Desperate Housewives" in which Cross's character's son came out as gay.

Before long the rumors were even appearing on CNN, which claimed Cross would come out in a cover story in LGBTQ magazine The Advocate just in time for May sweeps—network television's most lucrative ratings period.

And speaking of "Sex and the City," one of that show's co-stars Kristin Davis was one of several names circulated in primitive social media posts at the time as Cross's potential lesbian paramour.

Other actors theorized to be Cross's lover were now-disgraced "Full House" star Lori Loughlin, along with actresses Merrin Dungey and Jessica Pare.


Graham was also named, and before long that was the name that was sticking.

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People continued talking about Cross and Graham throughout the 2000s and 2010s.

Hollywood gossip blind items were still obsessing about Cross's sexuality years later, even after "Desperate Housewives" had ended.

And by 2012, Graham had been solidified as her rumored partner.

By then, the rumors had gone even further, with blind items claiming they had been "in a very happy lesbian relationship with each other for several years."

The notion of a big public coming-out persisted too, but it was rumored that one of the actresses, presumably Cross, had been "talked...out of it at the last minute" amid fears it would "hurt the ratings" of her show.


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How things have changed.

As silly and quaint as those fears may sound now, Cross would have had good reason to take them seriously at the time—which is probably why she ended up publicly denying them.

Acceptance of LGBTQ people in media had only just recently begun to change at the time, most notably with the premiere of shows like "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."


The latter launched in 2003, following nearly six years of obscurity after DeGeneres' coming out led to the cancellation of her sitcom in 1997.

But it's almost impossible to imagine this much uproar over two actresses' sexualities nowadays—apart from right-wing ideologues, anyway.

And despite our era of rapidly increasing danger and political attacks against LGBTQ people, queer representation in media is at an all-time high


There's no question our society has far more progress to be made when it comes to the acceptance and rights of LGBTQ people.

But rumors like the ones about Cross and Graham eliciting more shrugs than eyebrow-raises nowadays? That's something we can feel proud of.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.