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Glee Alum Jacob Artist Jokes About Lea Michele Can’t Read Conspiracy

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Unless you’ve been busy thinking about the Roman empire, there’s a good chance you know the conspiracy theory surrounding actress Lea Michele.

For the uninitiated, rumors have swirled for the better part of a decade that the former Glee star can’t read. To be very clear, there’s no hard evidence to support this, but that’s never stopped the internet before.

Since the theory just won’t go away, Michele’s fellow Glee alum Jacob Artist decided to have some fun with it. On Thursday, February 22, he posted a TikTok captioned, “When you think about the Lea Michele can’t read conspiracy theories more than the Roman Empire.”

The Roman empire quip refers to the viral sensation that swept TikTok last year in which women asked their boyfriends or husbands how often they think about the Roman empire. Many women were left stunned by just how often ancient Rome crosses some men’s minds.

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Since then, any number of topics have been characterized as “my Roman empire” to demonstrate that an individual thinks about it more than others might imagine.

It does not seem that Artist actually believes the conspiracy theory — his thinking seems to come more from wondering exactly how the rumor took off in the first place. One TikTok user commented on his video, “Girl wouldnt you know????” Artist replied only, “Yes.”

The “Lea Michele can’t read” conspiracy originated from a story in her late costar Naya Rivera’s memoir that said Michele refused to improvise on the Glee set. That led to the podcast “One More Thing” stretching it into a theory that Michele never learned to read as a child and instead just memorized all of her lines. The theory took off from there.

Michele has responded to the accusation in the past, telling The New York Times in 2022, “I went to Glee every single day; I knew my lines every single day, and then there’s a rumor online that I can’t read or write? It’s sad. It really is. I think often if I were a man, a lot of this wouldn’t be the case.”

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Lea Michele and more Glee alums have found their happily ever afters off-screen. The Fox musical drama aired for six seasons between 2009 and 2015. Michele and late costar Cory Monteith played New Directions leaders Rachel Berry and Finn Hudson, respectively, and sparked a real-life romance while playing the high school sweethearts. They dated until […]

She’s also joked about it, one time posting a video to TikTok in which she called her friend Jonathan Groff to ask him to read her comments to her.

Michele’s friend Emma Roberts didn’t exactly help matters. During a 2023 appearance on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, Cohen suggested that the biggest misconception about Michele would be that she couldn’t read. Roberts jokingly replied, “We’ve not been in a book club together!”

Even in jest, though, it appears all of Michele’s friends have her back.

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