Emily’s sexuality is a hot topic for fans of “Pretty Little Liars” — she’s been presented as a lesbian since very early on in the first season, and it’s refreshing to see a gay character as one of the leads in a show that’s aimed at a young audience.
It’s no surprise that there was some discord, then, when ABC Family announced that a male love interest will be introduced for Emily in Season 3. “Vampire Diaries” actor Sterling Sulieman will play Nathan, the cousin of Emily’s first girlfriend, Maya — who was murdered in the Season 2 finale.
Though Emily is bisexual in the books, it doesn’t seem that the show is going in that direction — at least, not for long. “Pretty Little Liars” showrunner Marlene King tells After Ellen, “It’s not our intention. I want to choose my words really carefully here, because Emily is
going through a period of mourning and loss and confusion, and she may
make a decision or two that will take her on a winding road — but she
definitely quickly comes back to her understanding of her sexuality.”
Zap2it spoke with Shay Mitchell during an on-set press conference, and she assures fans that the photos released of Emily and Nathan may be misleading. “Let me just say that whatever we post online sometimes, these photos may be there to trick you,” she says. “We don’t want you guys to know the surprises ahead of time. As far as right now is concerned, no [she is not bisexual].”
In her grief, Emily may form a surprisingly strong connection with Nathan, because they can support each other through a difficult time. “When you lose somebody, especially Maya, who was Emilly’s real first love, it’s extremely difficult,” Mitchell says. “Yeah, for Emily, I feel like she’s in her own little world. The girls obviously are there for her, but they don’t really understand what she’s going through.”