Sophia Bush Confirms Ashlyn Harris Romance, Comes Out As Queer In Moving Essay

Sophia Bush says she finally feels like she “can breathe.”

The “One Tree Hill” alum wrote a powerful essay published in Glamour Thursday in which she reveals that she now identifies as queer and confirms that she’s in a romantic relationship with former U.S. soccer player Ashlyn Harris.

“I think I’ve always known that my sexuality exists on a spectrum,” Bush wrote. “Right now I think the word that best defines it is queer. I can’t say it without smiling, actually. And that feels pretty great.”

Bush said she’s “experienced so much safety, respect, and love in the queer community” both as an ally and member. 

“I sort of hate the notion of having to come out in 2024. But I’m deeply aware that we are having this conversation in a year when we’re seeing the most aggressive attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community in modern history,” she wrote. “There were more than 500 anti-LGBTQIA+ bills proposed in state legislatures in 2023, so for that reason I want to give the act of coming out the respect and honor it deserves.”

Sophia Bush and Ashlyn Harris.
Sophia Bush and Ashlyn Harris. Getty

She explained that coming out and finding love has been revolutionary for her mental health. 

“I finally feel like I can breathe. I don’t think I can explain how profound that is,” Bush wrote. “I feel like I was wearing a weighted vest for who knows how long. I hadn’t realized how heavy it was until I finally just put it down.”

Bush also took the opportunity to clear up rumors that she and Harris began their relationship on nefarious terms.

Bush was married to Grant Hughes for a little more than a year before she filed for divorce in August 2023. Harris filed for divorce from her wife and former U.S. Women’s National Team teammate Ali Krieger in September 2023. The athlete and former couple share two children.

Soon after their respective splits, gossip about Bush and Harris began circulating online, which Bush described as “blatant lies,” “violent threats,” and “accusations of being a home-wrecker.”

Bush wrote, “What felt like seconds after I started to see what was in front of me, the online rumor mill began to spit in the ugliest ways.”

She added: “The ones who said I’d left my ex because I suddenly realized I wanted to be with women — my partners have known what I’m into for as long as I have (so that’s not it, y’all, sorry!).”

Bush also shared how she and Harris fell in love.

She explains that in the summer of 2023, she was “separated and preparing to file for divorce” and soon began bonding with other friends who were having troubles in their romantic relationships. Bush said that she began a kind of support group — in which they’d read “books written by great therapists,” send each other “inspirational memes and silly TikToks” when times got tough, and shared a “‘Begin Again’ Amazon shopping list” created for “the ones moving out and starting over.”

Ashlyn Harris, Sophia Bush, Michelle Akers, Linda Gancitano Gracias Madre watch a soccer match at Peacock watch party in 2021.
Ashlyn Harris, Sophia Bush, Michelle Akers, Linda Gancitano Gracias Madre watch a soccer match at Peacock watch party in 2021. Peacock via Getty Images

Bush wrote that a member of her support group happened to be Harris, a friend of Bush’s since 2019, and was “in the process of figuring out her own split from her wife.”

Bush noted that other members of their support group noticed her and Harris’ compatibility before she did.

“It really took other people in our safe support bubble pointing out to me how we’d finish each other’s sentences or be deeply affected by the same things,” Bush wrote. 

“I didn’t expect to find love in this support system,” Bush added. “I don’t know how else to say it other than: I didn’t see it until I saw it. And I think it’s very easy not to see something that’s been in front of your face for a long time when you’d never looked at it as an option and you had never been looked at as an option. What I saw was a friend with her big, happy life. And now I know she thought the same thing about me.”

Bush wrote after some encouragement from their mutual friends, she eventually “asked Ashlyn to have a non-friend-group hang to talk about it.”

“And that meal was four and a half hours long and truly one of the most surreal experiences of my life thus far,” Bush wrote. “In hindsight, maybe it all had to happen slowly and then suddenly all at once.”

Being that this shift was a private one, Bush noted that she wasn’t too keen to share the details of her sexuality and blooming romance online with the often merciless masses.

“Just because I didn’t want to process my realizations in real time on social media and spell them out for the world doesn’t mean the journey wasn’t long and thoughtful and exhaustive,” Bush wrote.

As for Harris, Bush said she is “absolutely in awe of her relentless integrity.”

“The way she prioritizes and centers her kids, not only in her life but in the core of her being, is breathtaking to behold,” Bush wrote. “Falling in love with her has sutured some of my own childhood wounds, and made me so much closer to my own mother.”

As for Bush’s parents, they seem to be totally on board with her romance with Harris.

“I really love who I am, at this age and in this moment,” Bush wrote. “I’m so lucky that my parents, having spent time with Ash over the holidays, said, Well, this finally looks right.’ I know it could have gone differently.”

To read Bush’s essay in full, head over to Glamour.