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This profile is part of Queerty’s 2021 Out For Good series, recognizing public figures who’ve had the courage to come out and make a difference in the past year, in celebration of National Coming Out Day on October 11.
Name: Courtney Stodden, 27
Bio: Stodden made tabloid headlines at age 16 by marrying 51-year-old actor Doug Hutchison in 2011. Because the age of consent in California is 18, Stodden’s mother had give consent for the couple to marry.
After tying the knot, Stodden appeared on several reality shows, including Couples Therapy and Celebrity Big Brother, released a string of original dance songs, and appeared in the independent film Love Addict before separating from Hutchinson in 2017. (The couple finalized their divorce in 2020.)
Speaking to a reporter in 2018, Stodden admitted to “playing a caricature” with the media, much like Anna Nicole Smith and Marilyn Monroe, saying, “I decided, at 23, that ‘I’m not gonna play this anymore. I’m just going to be myself.’ I want to be honest [now], and potentially help people.”
Coming out: In April 2021, Stodden came out as non-binary on social media, announcing their new pronouns on Instagram and Twitter by writing, “They/them/theirs. I don’t Identify as she or her. I’ve never felt like I ever fit in anywhere.”
Speaking to Variety, Stodden added, “I’m excited to begin to truly start expressing myself without worry of others’ judgments or opinions. I’ve lived too long hiding from who I really am. I’m so excited for everyone to see my true self creatively and spiritually.”
They/them/theirs. I don’t Identify as she or her. I’ve never felt like I ever fit in anywhere. I was bullied horribly in school because I was different. The other girls never understood me. I never really connected with anyone my age. My spirit is fluid w a kaleidoscope of color pic.twitter.com/BFwHoDkSLa
— Courtney Stodden (@CourtneyStodden) April 14, 2021
Chosen Family: Stodden also used the moment to talk about the bullying they received as a teenager, singling out Chrissy Teigen, the former queen of Twitter, specifically. “I experienced so much harassment and bullying from her when I was just 16 years old,” they said in an Instagram video. “At a time when I needed help. I was being abused.”
Stodden then shared screenshots of tweets and DMs sent by Teigen a decade earlier, saying things like “I hate you” and urging them to take their own life. “It really affected me,” Stodden said. “It’s so damaging when you have somebody like Chrissy Teigen bullying children.”
Teigen responded publicly by tweeting a lengthy apology, writing, “I’m mortified and sad at who I used to be. I was an insecure, attention-seeking troll. I am ashamed and completely embarrassed at my behavior but that is nothing compared to how I made Courtney feel.”
Stodden said they accepted Teigen’s apology but added they believed she was only doing it to salvage her reputation. “I accept her apology and forgive her. But the truth remains the same, I have never heard from her or her camp in private. In fact, she blocked me on Twitter,” Stodden said.
A month later, Teigen issued another public apology, this time in a blog post admitting to cyberbullying and once again expressing her regret.
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Love them or hate them, one thing about Courtney Stodden is that they’ve always followed their heart, even when the whole world criticized them for it. People may have laughed at Stodden in 2011, but look who’s laughing now.