Maria Bello has come out as gay -- in a big way. The 46-year-old actress revealed she's been in a long-term relationship with her best female friend in a column that was published in the New York Times on Friday, Nov. 29. In the heartfelt passage titled "Coming Out as a Modern Family," the star shared the first time she opened up about her love life to her 12-year-old son Jackson.
At the time, her young son had been getting suspicious, and wondered if she wasn't telling him something -- and he was right. "This was the moment I had been anticipating and dreading for months," the actress wrote. "I took a deep breath, knowing that my answer, and his response, would have an impact on our lives for a very long time."
"I was with someone romantically and I hadn't told him," she admitted. "I had become involved with a woman who was my best friend, and, as it happens, a person who is like a godmother to my son."
One year earlier, Bello -- known for her work in "Coyote Ugly" and "Grown Ups" -- decided to give a relationship with her best friend a try. The realization happened when she was reading through her old journals in her California garden.
"I read about the handful of men and the one woman I had been in romantic relationships with, passages rife with pain and angst. It seemed when I was physically attracted to someone, I would put them in the box of being my 'soul mate' and then be crushed when things didn't turn out as I had hoped," she wrote.
"As I continued to look through photos, I came across a black-and-white one of my best friend and me taken on New Year's Eve. We looked so happy, I couldn't help but smile," she added. "It didn't occur to me, until that soul-searching moment in my garden, that we could perhaps choose to love each other romantically."
Click through to keep reading about Maria's modern family -- and to see a photo of her girlfriend, her son and his dad...