‘Outlander’ Author Diana Gabaldon Had Some Explaining to Do After Being Caught Locking Lips With Sam Heughan

After 5 seasons, it’s impossible for Outlander author Diana Gabaldon to imagine anyone else besides Sam Heughan in the role of Jamie Fraser. But when she first saw him, Gabaldon wasn’t convinced that Heughan was right for the part. It didn’t take long, though, for the Scottish actor to win her over. In fact, Gabaldon and Heughan are so close, cameras once caught the pair locking lips.

Outlander Sam Heughan Diana Gabaldon
‘Outlander’ star Sam Heughan with author Diana Gabaldon | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Diana Gabaldon was involved in the ‘Outlander’ casting process

With the Starz time-traveling series being based on Gabaldon’s novels, it makes sense that the author was involved in the Outlander casting process. As Cheat Sheet has previously reported, Gabaldon wasn’t present when Heughan auditioned for series creator Ronald D. Moore and executive producer Maril Davis.

Moore and Davis cast Heughan rather quickly – well before his co-star Caitriona Balfe (Claire Fraser). But when they called and told Gabaldon about their selection, she had no idea what the then-unknown actor looked like.

Gabaldon says she Googled Heughan’s name, and only a “handful” of images came up of the actor doing stage work. When she saw him for the first time, Gabaldon admits she called Heughan “grotesque.”

During an appearance on Outcasts – the unofficial Outlander podcast with Tom Downie and David Berry – Gabaldon explained why she said that.

“The one thing he had done was Emulsion, which is a truly weird psychological thriller and I hadn’t seen the film – I still haven’t. But I had seen the pictures of him from it,” Gabaldon said. “Before that, it was all stage work, so you’ve got these off-the-cuff stills they put in front of the theatre, and not professional photographs.”

The ‘Outlander’ author clutched her chest when she saw Heughan’s audition tape

Gabaldon quickly changed her mind about Heughan when she saw his audition tape. She says that she found him “astonishing.”

“Maril and I were both clutching our chests when we were watching Sam’s audition thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is actually him,'” Gabaldon revealed.

The author modeled the character of Jamie after her husband, and she didn’t feel Heughan was right for the role based on the photos. When Gabaldon saw Heughan’s audition, she realized how “fine” he was. Now, she realizes that the actor is a “total chameleon” who changes with each character.

“A few seconds later and it was like Jamie Fraser was there,” Gabaldon said.

After playing the role for five seasons, Gabaldon says that Heughan has “his own sense” of the character and it is very close to hers.

Cameras once caught Diana Gabaldon and Sam Heughan sharing a kiss

During Outlander’s first five seasons, Gabaldon has released the eighth book in the planned 10-book series, and she’s getting ready to release book number nine, Go Tell The Bees That I’m Gone.

At the same time, Gabaldon has stayed very involved in the creative process of the TV show and has grown extremely close to the cast and crew. It’s clear from her Twitter feed that she has a good time with both Heughan and Balfe.

In 2015, Gabaldon and Heughan were at RingCon in Germany when cameras caught the two sharing a kiss. The pair was on stage for a Q&A session when the snap was taken of them locking lips.


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Once the photo began making its way around the internet and fans started losing their minds, Gabaldon clarified what was happening in the image.

“We’d just done a successful show and everybody was kissing/hugging everybody onstage,” Gabaldon wrote on Twitter. “Gary kissed me about ten seconds after that, and Graham kissed me before Sam did.”

Outlander seasons 1 through 5 are available on Amazon Prime Video.