The Best ‘Orange is the New Black’ Love Story Happened Off Camera


If your and your significant other are on shaky ground at the moment, I implore you to back away from your computer. Because I’ve spent the last hour researching Samira Wiley and Lauren Morelli’s love story and I’m confident it’s good enough to cast doubts on even the healthiest of relationships. So ask yourself: Am I ready to be single? And if the answer is yes, I’ll meet you below this randomly-chosen wedding photo that has nothing to do with anything.


A post shared by Samira Wiley (@whododatlikedat) on

Jk, it has everything to do with all of it and yes, that’s a cape. If you’ve been on the internet in the past 24 hours, chances are you’ve laid eyes on this photo already. It’s everywhere and for good reason. Look at them! Even worse A.K.A better is the romantic narrative that preceded it, which I’ve spent the morning annoyingly gasping over much to the dismay of my esteemed colleagues.

Wiley and Morelli met on the set of Orange is the New Black in 2012, the first big-time gig for both of them. Wiley played the widely loved Poussey and Morelli wrote the episode that introduced her backstory. A straight-forward enough Meet Cute, but it was a little more complicated than that. “I’d already seen Samira’s audition tape and immediately had a crush on her,” Morelli told Out Magazine late last year, “The complication being that I was married to a man at the time.”

A plot twist worthy of Shakespeare. Morelli ended up discovering her sexuality on the show and later penned an essay for Mic about the uncomfortable experience of writing a story that in some ways mirrored her own. “Five months after my wedding, I flew to New York to start production on my first episode of Orange,” she wrote, “and from that moment on my life fell into a parallel rhythm with Piper’s story in a way that went from interesting to terrifying in a matter of months.” A very difficult but eye-opening year followed as Morelli discovered that she was gay.

A post shared by Samira Wiley (@whododatlikedat) on

“[When] I found out she was married — I assumed to a woman,” Wiley told Out. “It was a little dagger in my heart.” Ultimately she became a confidant to Morelli and they grew close as friends. Soon, they realized they were in love.

“I’d finally separated from my husband and gotten my own place, and Samira and I had officially started dating,” Morelli said. “I remember walking down the street in New York and finally being able to hold her hand, and how huge that felt.”

Brace your tear ducts.

“I flew to L.A. to see Lauren after she’d moved into her own apartment,” said Wiley. “It was the first time we could really be together. She got me a ring, which I now wear around my neck, and a card that said, ‘Will you be my girlfriend?’ To sit in a house that was hers and have her give me that ring and card… I’m crying right now thinking about it. It felt like something that would never come.”

Don’t worry, they fight sometimes too! Of a bad trip to Thailand they took a year into their relationship, Wiley said: “We always say it’s amazing we survived that trip, but however horrible it was, it helped me know I want to be with her — because she could see all these parts of me and still want to be with me, and I could see all these parts of her and still want to be with her. I would rather have the worst day with Lauren than the best day with someone else.” (Nevermind, def worry.)

To add some much-needed drama to their story, Morelli was tasked with writing Samira out of the show a couple years later. Sorry for the Orange spoiler. I won’t give you the details, but Morelli described it as an incredibly emotional moment for her. When she realized she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Wiley, she proposed. Wiley sobbed and hyperventilated with happiness.

You can read all about it here, but please contain yourself.

“She’d always tell me jokingly that she was just trying to get ‘chose,'” said Morelli. “She’d do the dishes, and I’d go, ‘Oh, thank you, that means a lot to me.’ And she’d go, ‘Just tryna get chose, bae. Just tryna get chose.’ So when I proposed, I made that the theme of the proposal: “I choose you.”

And then their wedding happened.

Thank you, @daniebb3. You get us. 🙏🏾

A post shared by Samira Wiley (@whododatlikedat) on

Per Martha Stewart Weddings, the ceremony was outdoors and officiated by Samira’s parents. Important soundtrack details: The recession up the aisle was done to Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” and their entrance to the reception was done to Justin Bieber’s “Baby.” They were both dressed by Christian Siriano and funfetti cake was served.

It’s all terribly adorable, isn’t it? I’m sorry for any person or relationship that was hurt by any of this. If you care to twist the knife, maybe waste an hour cruising Wiley’s and Morelli’s Instagrams like I did. And, as a follow-up, maybe peruse these? Just an idea.

The Familiar Process of Breaking Up

How to Deal With a Breakup

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Breaking-Up Shame

Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images.

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman is the Features Director at Man Repeller.

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