‘They didn’t know how to process it’
Speaking at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in her hometown of Austin, Texas, the 32-year-old actor described the conversation as “just tears”.
“My dad is ‘out of central casting’ Texan,” Heard said at a panel event titled “Making Change On and Off the Screen”.
“Big barrel hat, handlebar moustache, loves his guns, good Southern man,” she continued. “And I was raised in a religious home”.
The Aquaman star went on to describe herself as an “outspoken, militant feminist, lesbian, atheist, vegetarian”, adding: ”I remember when I told them about my relationship, that I was in love with this woman.
“I remember at the beginning of that it was just tears. It was tears.”
Though Heard didn’t clarify when this conversation took place, she explained that her parents “didn’t know how to process” the news “because we hadn’t built the infrastructure for acceptance and tolerance.
“For them, it was being thrown into a binary system of processing it: negative or positive.”
Heard dated photographer Tasya van Ree from 2008 to 2012, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she publicly spoke about her sexuality after she was asked about it in an interview with US television host, Ellen DeGeneres.
“I just answered honestly,” she recalled in 2017 while speaking at The Economist‘s Pride & Prejudice event.
“I could tell by the look on this person’s face it was a big deal. My poor publicist. Then I realised the gravity of what I had done and why so many people – studio execs, agents, advisors – did not want this coming before my name.”
Heard, who finalised her divorce to actor Johnny Depp in 2017, explained that after that moment, she “became attached to a label”.
“I’ve never seen myself defined by the person I’m with,” she added. “I saw myself being in this unique position and having a unique responsibility. So, I bit the bullet.”
You can listen to a recording of Heard speaking at SXSW here.