Lily Tomlin refused to come out as a lesbian because she feared her mother's reaction.
The 76-year-old actress waited until her mother's death a decade ago to admit that she is a gay and was in love with her long-time collaborator Jane Wagner, whom she married in 2013.
Reflecting on her decision to keep her sexuality a secret, Lily said: "My mother would have died. Literally. If she'd lived to see me come out.
"Bless her heart, she was Southern, basically fundamentalist, but she was very witty and sweet and kind and she adored Jane. She died 10 years ago. She was 91. So that was always kind of a dilemma for me."
Meanwhile, Lily also revealed she turned down films that said "thoughtless things about women".
The '9 to 5' actress told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: "They sent me two or three Neil Simon scripts over the years.
"When you're first in the business you're so innocent and free, the script would literally leap out of my hands into the trash can. Then afterward you get to know more and more people and you make more compromises."