Former Milly designer Michelle Smith has spoken openly about coming out as pansexual after falling for SoulCycle teacher Stacey Griffith, saying she now feels “more natural” and “more comfortable” with herself .
Smith, 49, and Griffith, 54, confirmed their relationship on Instagram in 2019, two years after splitting from husband Andrew Oshrin, with whom she co-founded Milly in 2000.
“I identify as pansexual,” she told Vogue in a new interview. “I grew up very heterosexual, but around the age of 40 my attraction to people changed: I stopped being attracted to someone because of their gender and became attracted to people because of what they are and their energy dressed.”
Former Milly designer Michelle Smith has spoken openly about coming out as pansexual after falling for SoulCycle teacher Stacey Griffith
The designer, who now identifies as pansexual, told Vogue that she grew up “very straight” but her “attractions to people” changed around the age of 40
Smith, 49, and Griffith, 54, celebrate Price Month 2020 in New York City
Noting that she “never had an official coming-out announcement,” Smith reflected on how her experience was vastly different from Griffith’s.
‘If my girlfriend [Griffith] came out she was a gay teen in high school in the ’80s and it was awful — people wrote ‘d**e’ in soap on her car and started fighting with her,” she explained.
Smith was in her late 20s when she married Oshrin in 2003 and they have two children together, Sophia, 15, and William, 12.
She admitted she has a “good laugh” when she looks at photos of herself from this time in her life because she looks “like such a straight mom”.
“Now I just feel more natural and comfortable with myself,” she said.
Smith and Oshrin were in the midst of a divorce when Milly was sold to a subsidiary of clothing company S. Rothschild & Co. in 2019.
Smith was married to Milly co-founder Andrew Oshrin from 2003 until their split in 2017. They are pictured together in 2015
Smith resigned from Milly in 2019 after she was sold to a subsidiary of clothing company S. Rothschild & Co. She is pictured at a runway show during New York Fashion Week 2018
Known for her popular SoulCycle classes, Griffith has her own celebrity following that includes Kelly Ripa (far left) and Hoda Kotb (second from left).
The designer, whose fans included Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lopez, quietly resigned from the brand after the sale and launched her new line, Michelle Smith, a year later.
“Realizing that I’m pansexual has definitely changed my design aesthetic and approach to collections,” she told Vogue. “It feels old-fashioned to even define clothes by a specific gender – I want all genders to feel welcome in my clothes.”
Griffith previously dated Debby Hymowitz for 13 years after the socialite left her hedge fund husband Greg for her in 2005
Known for her popular SoulCycle courses, Griffith has her own celebrity fan base that includes Brooke Shields and Kelly Ripa.
Together, the powerhouse couple launched Love & Sports, a genderless activewear line for Walmart.
Smith said she makes it a priority to “look out for non-binary and transgender models” when casting because “it’s important” that “everyone has a place in fashion.”
The mother-of-two was an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community even before she came out, noting that it is a worrying time for gay rights.
She mentioned Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law, which prohibits teachers from teaching classes about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
Smith encouraged people to stand up for LGBTQ rights and also to support gay youth who are “most vulnerable and most vulnerable.”
“Maybe I’m in a microcosm because I’m in New York City, but with my kids’ identities and friendships, they’re very comfortable in their own skin,” she said. “There is no sense of shame about queerness.”
Smith and Griffith confirmed their relationship on Instagram in 2019, two years after splitting from her husband
Smith shared a blurred version of the image with a tick emoji and the hashtags #lovewins and #loveislove
The couple made their first public appearance at the Seeds of Hope Fundraising Gala in 2019
Smith’s relationship with Griffith is her first with a woman, and as recently as July 2018 she said she was not a member of the LGBTQ community but an ally.
“I’m not coming out, but I’m a huge, passionate supporter of equality and LGBTQ rights, and my upcoming fall collection was all about color and using the rainbow as a metaphor,” she told The Daily Front Row at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop in New York during Pride Month.
Griffith previously dated Debby Hymowitz for 13 years after the socialite left her hedge fund husband Gregg for her in 2005. The couple had two college-age daughters and a seven-year-old daughter at the time of their split.
Smith first met Griffith when she began taking SoulCycle classes in 2013, The New York Times reported in 2020. Five years later, the two reunited at a barbecue in Montauk and began spending more time together.
In October 2019, Griffith made their relationship official on Instagram by sharing a photo of herself bathing Smith while posing in front of the New York City skyline.
Smith told Vogue that she “never had an official coming-out announcement,” but she feels “more natural” and “comfortable” with herself now
Together they launched Love & Sports, a genderless activewear line for Walmart. Smith said she makes a point of “looking out for non-binary and transgender models” when casting.
“As clear as it gets… #lovewins every time,” she wrote, adding a heart emoji and the hashtags #partner, #loveyourself and #tomboy.
She also tagged Smith in the picture, leaving no doubt as to the identity of her glamorous-looking partner.
Meanwhile, Smith shared a blurred version of the image with a tick emoji and the hashtags #lovewins and #loveislove. She later commented with more hashtags: #lgbtq #equality #lgbtqrights #pansexual #lesbian #love.
The two hadn’t previously spoken publicly about their relationship, so the posts drew supportive responses from friends and fans, including several of Griffith’s A-list pals like Molly Sims and MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle.
Days later, Smith and Griffith made their first public appearance together at the 2019 Seeds Of Hope Fundraising Gala hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City.
“I didn’t see her because of her gender. I saw her for her energy and beautiful light and it felt very natural,” Smith said of falling in love with Griffith at the 2020 Tamron Hall Show
Smith said she waited until the right moment to tell her children, Sophia and William, about her relationship with Griffith, but they ultimately supported her
Smith spoke candidly about her relationship with Griffith during an appearance on The Tamron Hall Show in December 2020.
“I’ve always had a very, you know, traditionally straight life, and up to this point I’ve never felt attracted to a woman,” she said. “This is my first time, but now my life is very different.”
Smith explained that the way she sees “people and love” is very different, adding that her relationship with Griffith “wasn’t something I expected.”
“We fell in love. She’s amazing,’ she said. ‘It just happened. I didn’t see her because of her gender. I saw her for her energy and beautiful light and it felt very natural.’
Smith also spoke about waiting to tell her kids about her new relationship, which they ended up supporting.
“I didn’t want to shake their boat. So I took some time to be sure it was the right moment,” she said. “And when I told them, they had questions. And they too were a little surprised. But they’re also very accepting, you know, my kids, kids their age, they’re a new generation.’