‘Outlander’: Caitriona Balfe Reveals the ‘Real Version’ of How She Landed the Role and Reunites With Her ‘First Love’

Outlander star Caitriona Balfe (Claire Fraser) is currently shooting season six with her co-star, Sam Heughan (Jamie Fraser).

During a recent chat, Balfe got the chance to revisit how she found out she’d landed the Outlander role. The actor also revealed storylines she’s advocated for and has reunited with her first love.

Sam Heughen and Caitriona Balfe in 'Outlander.'
Sam Heughen and Caitriona Balfe in ‘Outlander.’ | Starz

Caitriona Balfe’s good friend reveals the ‘true version’ of how she landed her role on ‘Outlander’

During a recent Instagram Live chat with her friend Oliver Jeffers, Balfe admitted there was “a funny story” about how she found the role of Claire Fraser was hers.

“This is a good one! I don’t think the true version has ever really been told so I’ll let you tell it,” Balfe told Jeffers.

He explained that they were supposed to go to India together with their friend Donnell, who introduced them. But, Balfe was stuck at home waiting on the Indian embassy to grant her a visa. The plan was for Balfe to meet up with her friends later, and in the meantime, she was auditioning for Outlander.

Balfe’s friends knew before she did

Jeffers recalls Balfe being called back for a second audition, so they dropped Donnell off at a wellness retreat after traveling around for a while.

“He was mid-purge with a certain type of cleanse and he was getting texts through from a friend who was doing wardrobe,” Jeffers said. “She had been sent your sizes and was like ‘I think Caitriona got the part’ so we texted you.”

The Outlander star admitted she didn’t believe them. She kept telling her friends “no” and refused to listen because “nobody’s told me anything.” But Donnell kept insisting that she had the part because wardrobe had her sizes.

“So you found out you got the part I think from your friend Donnell lying on his back in paper underpants in Goa,” Jeffers joked.

The ‘Outlander’ star advocated for a specific Claire Fraser storyline

Fans will recall that the season 5 finale was a horrific one for Claire Fraser. After being brutally assaulted by multiple men, her family rescued her and took her home to Fraser’s Ridge. By the end of the episode she was in recovery.

This all happened to Claire while she’s in her early 50’s, and Balfe says signs of menopause are showing. She says she advocated to continue this storyline in season 6.

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“I loved that Claire is menopausal toward the end of this season — I advocated early on for much more of this,” Balfe told Express. “It’s a fascinating moment in a woman’s life to explore. I hope we can carry that into the next season because it has a huge impact on how you feel as a woman, about yourself and your family and your confidence.”

Caitriona Balfe also wanted female friendships for her character

As Claire ages, Balfe wants to make sure her character develops in a realistic way. She says it helps that they aren’t doing just one thing. Each season, the story has evolved so differently than the one before it. Balfe says she is constantly surprised by Claire.

The 41-year-old actor says that she has always been keen to present history in an honest way on Outlander instead of “regurgitating it.” One way of doing that is to show strong female friendships.

“We constantly have to have this reminder that female friendships and female agency are vital. There’s always a danger when you’re doing a period piece that you go along with perceived knowledge, like, ‘That’s how history was,'”  Balfe explained. “That’s something we always fight for: Let’s not do something because that’s what we’ve been told happens. Let’s find out what those people were actually experiencing and feeling.”

The ‘Outlander’ star just reunited with her ‘first love’

While shooting season 6, Balfe recently had the opportunity to reunite with her “first love” on set. No, it’s not her husband, Tony McGill, or her co-star. Instead, Balfe revealed on Instagram that her first love is Travis, the “dreamboat” horse from season 1 that she learned to ride on.

Balfe posted a pic with Travis and wrote in the caption, “My first ❤️….. Travis my season one dreamboat is back on set…. The horse I properly learned to ride on. Be still my heart….🤎🤎🤎 #Season6BTS #Outlander.”

Seasons 1 through 5 of Outlander are available on the Starz app. Season 6 is expected to premiere in late 2021.