Ryan Pfluger for TIME

The first time Greg Berlanti and I sat down to speak about his 2018 coming-of-age film, Love, Simon, we dreamed together about a mother’s best-case-­scenario response to her child’s coming out.

With our conversation as a jumping-off point, Greg wrote just about the most beautiful scene I had ever read. As a matter of fact, I loved everything about his script—it was fresh and brave, with a teen protagonist who just happened to be gay. In other words, exactly what the world needed.

Greg collaborates joyously, without ego. He has a clear vision, but receives feedback with vulnerability and respect. His well of creativity and excellent leadership skills have paid off—he is now the most prolific showrunner on TV, with a record 18 series orders in 2019. His warmth, integrity and goodness are revealed in each one of them.

Love, Simon follows me around in the happiest way. More times than I can count, strangers have felt moved to talk to me about the film and have cited my scene with Nick Robinson as a source of comfort and wisdom in their own journeys.

Thank you, Greg, for giving me the awesome responsibility of being that mom to teenagers and parents everywhere. I know that your husband, your son, your daughter and your sweet angel mom are proud of you, and just for the ­record—if I may be so bold—I am proud of you too.

Garner is an Emmy Award-nominated actor

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