Actress Maria Bello comes out

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(CNN) — When it comes to actress Maria Bello’s sexuality, perhaps the best way to describe it is “whatever.”

As the 46-year-old actress reveals in a first-person column for the New York Times, she’s been romantically involved with her female best friend — but considers the father of her 12-year-old son, Jack, her partner as well.

The “Prisoners” star, who’s spent the past 20-plus years appearing in a variety of films and TV shows, from “ER” to “Coyote Ugly,” says in the column that maybe the true “modern family is just a more honest family,” and that her truth is that she’s fallen in love with her friend, Clare.

“My feelings about attachment and partnership have always been that they are fluid and evolving,” Bello writes in the New York Times. “Jack’s father, Dan, will always be my partner because we share Jack. Dan is the best father and the most wonderful man I’ve known. Just because our relationship is nonsexual doesn’t make him any less of a partner. … And Clare will always be my partner because she is also my best friend.”

And yet, a few years ago, Bello realized that her feelings for Clare moved beyond friendship.

Those feelings also “aren’t the same as the butterflies-in-the-stomach, angst-ridden love I have felt before,” Bello writes. “They are much deeper than that.”

But as she came to this realization and embarked on a “long, painful, wonderful process of trying to figure out what our relationship was supposed to be,” there were two questions that immediately came to mind.

“First, how would it affect my son? He trusted Clare. He loved her. He had never met most of the men I had been in love with and had no idea I had been with a woman as well,” Bello says. “Second, how would it affect my career? I have never defined myself by whom I slept with, but I know others have and would.”

Indeed, Bello admits that she was somewhat scared about how her revelation would be perceived, especially by her adolescent son.

But, as she recounts in the column, her fears were unfounded. After she opened up to Jack that she was in a romantic relationship with Clare, a woman who’s like a godmother to him, he responded, “Mom, love is love, whatever you are.”

Bello has taken her son’s words to heart, and concluded that she “would like to consider myself a ‘whatever,’ as Jackson said. Whomever I love, however I love them, whether they sleep in my bed or not, or whether I do homework with them or share a child with them, ‘love is love.’ And I love our modern family.”

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