OnlyOnAOL: 'Once Upon a Time' evil queen Lana Parrilla's dark secret

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Lana Parrilla On "Once Upon A Time"

By: Donna Freydkin

As the Evil Queen/Regina of ABC's "Once Upon a Time," Lana Parrilla has cast a spell on audiences.

She's emerged as a fan favorite especially this season, when Regina found love with Robin Hood, only to have him die in one of the show's most dramatic demises when he sacrificed himself to save her. And she battles to stay on the straight and narrow, but Regina's darker impulses are barely held in check – and Sunday's season finale is a doozie, promises Parrilla.

In person, Parrilla is funny, forthright and outspoken. And yes, she admits that she can intimidate people. "I have heard that, yes. I don't necessarily pick up on it but I've been told people are scared of me – like, my whole life," says the Brooklyn native.

So much so that during her tender years, Parrilla – now married to software exec Fred Di Blasio – says she was something of a lone wolf.

"No one ever really would ask me out. I think it's that New York edge we were talking about it – don't even think about talking to me. That was something I had to work on, to drop the edge and be a little more open and social," she says. "Once I started putting myself out there a little more, people weren't so intimidated."

Speaking of social, her show's fans are – vocal, to say the least. "I think I do an OK job at managing it. It's hard, because I'm married and have a family. Through social media, I'm able to connect with fans, but if I go rogue for a few days, everyone thinks I was hit by lightning. I have other people to give to," she says.

That being said, you'll never catch her complaining about being the center of attention. She's happy to chat with fans online, and take pictures when appropriate. "I love giving to the fans. I think it's really important. Our fans are so passionate and supportive. How do you not celebrate that?" she says.

It's an open question whether Regina returns to her evil, destructive ways in season six, or continues to soldier on as a moral stalwart. Parrilla has no idea what's in store, and the showrunners aren't sure yet, either. But here's one big way she's utterly different from her alter ego.

"I like to be tucked in at night. It's true. I like someone to put the blankie around me and kiss my forehead or my lips. It's just so sweet, right?" she says.

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OnlyOnAOL: 'Once Upon a Time' evil queen Lana Parrilla's dark secret
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'An Untold Story' In the second hour, with the possibility of magic being destroyed and the fate of Storybrooke hanging in the balance, it's a race for Emma and Regina to track down Henry before Gold can find him first. Regina continues to struggle with her frustrations over her former evil-self and, elsewhere, Snow, David, Hook and Zelena are imprisoned and must contend with very two very disturbed individuals that may give Gold a run for his money. The season finale of 'Once Upon a Time' airs SUNDAY, MAY 15 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images) LANA PARRILLA
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'An Untold Story' In the second hour, with the possibility of magic being destroyed and the fate of Storybrooke hanging in the balance, it's a race for Emma and Regina to track down Henry before Gold can find him first. Regina continues to struggle with her frustrations over her former evil-self and, elsewhere, Snow, David, Hook and Zelena are imprisoned and must contend with very two very disturbed individuals that may give Gold a run for his money. The season finale of 'Once Upon a Time' airs SUNDAY, MAY 15 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images) ARNOLD PINNOCK
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Only You' - In the first hour of the special two-hour season finale, Regina reels from the death of Robin Hood, and everyone tries to give her room to grieve, but when the heroes discover Gold has stolen Hades' Olympian Crystal and tethered all of Storybrooke's magic to it, they set out to stop him. Henry decides he no longer can stand all the pain magic has caused his family, so he goes rogue, with Violet in tow, to destroy magic once and for all. Meanwhile, Zelena, Snow, David and Hook attempt to open a portal that will return Merida and the other Storybrooke guests to their homes, but things go awry, and the group winds up in a deranged new world. The season finale of 'Once Upon a Time' airs SUNDAY, MAY 15 (7:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Eike Schroter/ABC via Getty Images) JOSH DALLAS, COLIN O'DONOGHUE, REBECCA MADER, GINNIFER GOODWIN
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Last Rites' - Emma, David, Regina, Robin and Henry are finally back home in Storybrooke and reunited with Snow, but, unfortunately, they still have to contend with Hades, who continues to deceive Zelena as he lays out his plan to use the all-powerful Olympian Crystal to take over the town. The heroes desperately search for a way to defeat Hades while Hook does the same in the Underworld, looking for those missing storybook pages. Regina and Robin take a more direct approach, which culminates in an epic showdown that will leave our heroes forever changed, on 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, MAY 8 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images) LANA PARRILLA, REBECCA MADER, JARED GILMORE, JENNIFER MORRISON
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Firebird' - Hades turns to the heroes to ask for help with getting Zelena back from Rumplestiltskin and Peter Pan. In return, he offers to take all their names off their tombstones. However, when Hook is still unable to leave, he and Emma must journey into the depths of the Underworld. Meanwhile, Cruella De Vil is determined to keep the heroes trapped in the Underworld. In flashbacks, Emma searches for answers about her family and makes an unexpected friendship on 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, MAY 1 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images) SEAN MAGUIRE, LANA PARRILLA
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Sisters' - Now that Hades and Zelena are reunited, Hades tells Zelena that he wants a future with her outside of the Underworld. All she needs to do is heal his heart with True Love's Kiss so they can leave the Underworld and trap the heroes there for eternity. When Regina overhears of this plan, she enlists Cora's help to find a way to separate Zelena from Hades. However, Cora reveals a family secret that could change Regina and Zelena's lives forever. Meanwhile, David finally meets James, only to realize that his twin is determined to seek revenge on him for stealing the life he could have had, on 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, APRIL 24 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images) LANA PARRILLA
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Ruby Slippers' - In flashbacks, Ruby and Mulan find themselves in Oz, where they meet Dorothy. After the three witness Zelena's return to Oz, they look for a way to defeat her once and for all. However, Dorothy mysteriously disappears, and Ruby's search for her new friend lands her in the Underworld. Reunited with the heroes, Ruby teams up with Emma, Regina and Snow to continue looking for Dorothy. Meanwhile, Snow and David struggle with not being able to be with their son, Neal, and devise a plan so that one of them can escape the Underworld, on 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, APRIL 17 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images) REBECCA MADER
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Ruby Slippers' - In flashbacks, Ruby and Mulan find themselves in Oz, where they meet Dorothy. After the three witness Zelena's return to Oz, they look for a way to defeat her once and for all. However, Dorothy mysteriously disappears, and Ruby's search for her new friend lands her in the Underworld. Reunited with the heroes, Ruby teams up with Emma, Regina and Snow to continue looking for Dorothy. Meanwhile, Snow and David struggle with not being able to be with their son, Neal, and devise a plan so that one of them can escape the Underworld, on 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, APRIL 17 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images) TERI REEVES, JAMIE CHUNG
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Her Handsome Hero' - Belle turns to Rumplestiltskin with hope of finding a way to protect their child from Hades. However, they disagree over whether to use dark magic, as Belle forbids Rumplestiltskin from using his powers for evil. Meanwhile, Hades secretly meets with Gaston in the Underworld and encourages him to seek revenge on Rumplestiltskin. As the heroes try to find a way to defeat Hades, Emma has a terrifying nightmare that she realizes is beginning to come true. And in flashbacks, Belle and Gaston meet for the first time, but their blossoming romance comes to a halt on the eve of the Ogre wars, on 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, APRIL 10 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images) WES BROWN
ONCE UPON A TIME - The Brothers Jones - Finally reunited, Hook and Emma must find a way to defeat Hades so that they can return to Storybrooke with Snow, David, Regina, Robin, Henry and Gold. A surprise visit from Hooks departed brother Liam just might provide the lead they were looking forothers who have tried to overthrow Hades spoke of a book that contained the key to his downfall. Tired of watching from the sidelines, Henry secretly takes matters into his own hands while the others search for the book. Meanwhile, Hades redoubles his efforts to trap the heroes in the Underworld by playing them against one another. In flashbacks, the bond between the two young Jones brothers is tested and strengthened on a merchant ship heading into a dangerous storm, on Once Upon a Time, SUNDAY, MARCH 27 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Eike Schroter/ABC via via Getty Images)COLIN O'DONOGHUE, JENNIFER MORRISON
ONCE UPON A TIME - The Brothers Jones - Finally reunited, Hook and Emma must find a way to defeat Hades so that they can return to Storybrooke with Snow, David, Regina, Robin, Henry and Gold. A surprise visit from Hooks departed brother Liam just might provide the lead they were looking forothers who have tried to overthrow Hades spoke of a book that contained the key to his downfall. Tired of watching from the sidelines, Henry secretly takes matters into his own hands while the others search for the book. Meanwhile, Hades redoubles his efforts to trap the heroes in the Underworld by playing them against one another. In flashbacks, the bond between the two young Jones brothers is tested and strengthened on a merchant ship heading into a dangerous storm, on Once Upon a Time, SUNDAY, MARCH 27 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Eike Schroter/ABC via via Getty Images)TIMOTHY WEBBER, JARED GILMORE
ONCE UPON A TIME - The Brothers Jones - Finally reunited, Hook and Emma must find a way to defeat Hades so that they can return to Storybrooke with Snow, David, Regina, Robin, Henry and Gold. A surprise visit from Hooks departed brother Liam just might provide the lead they were looking forothers who have tried to overthrow Hades spoke of a book that contained the key to his downfall. Tired of watching from the sidelines, Henry secretly takes matters into his own hands while the others search for the book. Meanwhile, Hades redoubles his efforts to trap the heroes in the Underworld by playing them against one another. In flashbacks, the bond between the two young Jones brothers is tested and strengthened on a merchant ship heading into a dangerous storm, on Once Upon a Time, SUNDAY, MARCH 27 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Eike Schroter/ABC via via Getty Images)VICTORIA SMURFIT
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Souls of the Departed' - Emma, Regina, Mary Margaret, David, Robin, Henry and Gold arrive in the Underworld, on a mission to rescue Hook, only to discover that their search will be more difficult than they had anticipated. The inhabitants of the Underworld-all souls with unfinished business and many with quite personal vendettas-hound our heroes at every turn. Meanwhile, in an Enchanted Forest flashback, a familiar face from the Evil Queen's past returns to present Regina with the perfect birthday gift, on the 100th episode of 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, MARCH 6 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EST) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images)'nLANA PARRILLA, BARBARA HERSHEY datg20160307
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Souls of the Departed' - Emma, Regina, Mary Margaret, David, Robin, Henry and Gold arrive in the Underworld, on a mission to rescue Hook, only to discover that their search will be more difficult than they had anticipated. The inhabitants of the Underworld-all souls with unfinished business and many with quite personal vendettas-hound our heroes at every turn. Meanwhile, in an Enchanted Forest flashback, a familiar face from the Evil Queen's past returns to present Regina with the perfect birthday gift, on the 100th episode of 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, MARCH 6 (8:00-9:00 p.m. EST) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images)'nLANA PARRILLA datg20160307
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Swan Song' - The dark siege of Storybrooke is underway as all of the resurrected Dark Ones target a living soul for sacrifice so that they can return to the realm of the living. With doom imminent, Gold advises Mary Margaret, David and the rest of the heroes to spend their last fleeting moments enjoying the company of their loved ones. Emma, however, refuses to give up, knowing that she is responsible for righting all the poor choices she made as Dark One - there's only one problem, Dark Hook. When they face-off with the fate of Storybrooke at stake, Hook's actions will devastate Emma in a way no one saw coming. In a Fairy Tale Land flashback, the Evil Queen tests Hook's mettle by forcing him to confront a demon from his past before contracting him to dispatch one from hers, on the winter finale of 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6 (8:00-9:00 p.m., EST) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images)
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Swan Song' - The dark siege of Storybrooke is underway as all of the resurrected Dark Ones target a living soul for sacrifice so that they can return to the realm of the living. With doom imminent, Gold advises Mary Margaret, David and the rest of the heroes to spend their last fleeting moments enjoying the company of their loved ones. Emma, however, refuses to give up, knowing that she is responsible for righting all the poor choices she made as Dark One - there's only one problem, Dark Hook. When they face-off with the fate of Storybrooke at stake, Hook's actions will devastate Emma in a way no one saw coming. In a Fairy Tale Land flashback, the Evil Queen tests Hook's mettle by forcing him to confront a demon from his past before contracting him to dispatch one from hers, on the winter finale of 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6 (8:00-9:00 p.m., EST) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images)
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Birth' - In the first hour of this special 'Once Upon a Time' event - 'Birth' - tensions in Camelot come to a head when Merlin, now under Arthur's control, delivers an ultimatum to Emma: hand over the Dark One dagger and the Promethean spark or he will kill her entire family. Refusing to give in, Emma and our heroes face off against Arthur, Merlin and Zelena in an epic battle of magic and will. Just when the end is in sight, Emma is forced to make a gut-wrenching choice that no one saw coming. Back in Storybrooke, Zelena's pregnancy mysteriously accelerates and Hook goes to new and desperate lengths to get answers from the Dark Swan, in the two-hour 'Once Upon a Time,' airing SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 15 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Eike Schroter/ABC via Getty Images)
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Nimue' - In Camelot, Merlin spearheads a mission to reunite the dagger with Excalibur so he can use the weapon to save Emma from the darkness threatening her soul. With Zelena in tow, Hook, Mary Margaret, David, Regina and Robin steal into Arthur's castle to take the broken sword from the maniacal king. Meanwhile, Merlin brings Emma along on a journey to confront his ancient nemesis and retrieve the sacred spark he'll need to reforge Excalibur. Both parties are tested, but one suffers a blow that could derail the entire operation. In a flashback to long before the Age of Arthur, young Merlin finds purpose after he is blessed with magic and immortality, but when he falls in love with a young refugee named Nimue, everything changes for Merlin, as their romance starts a chain of events that touches every one of our present day heroes, on 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images)
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Nimue' - In Camelot, Merlin spearheads a mission to reunite the dagger with Excalibur so he can use the weapon to save Emma from the darkness threatening her soul. With Zelena in tow, Hook, Mary Margaret, David, Regina and Robin steal into Arthur's castle to take the broken sword from the maniacal king. Meanwhile, Merlin brings Emma along on a journey to confront his ancient nemesis and retrieve the sacred spark he'll need to reforge Excalibur. Both parties are tested, but one suffers a blow that could derail the entire operation. In a flashback to long before the Age of Arthur, young Merlin finds purpose after he is blessed with magic and immortality, but when he falls in love with a young refugee named Nimue, everything changes for Merlin, as their romance starts a chain of events that touches every one of our present day heroes, on 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images)
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'Nimue' - In Camelot, Merlin spearheads a mission to reunite the dagger with Excalibur so he can use the weapon to save Emma from the darkness threatening her soul. With Zelena in tow, Hook, Mary Margaret, David, Regina and Robin steal into Arthur's castle to take the broken sword from the maniacal king. Meanwhile, Merlin brings Emma along on a journey to confront his ancient nemesis and retrieve the sacred spark he'll need to reforge Excalibur. Both parties are tested, but one suffers a blow that could derail the entire operation. In a flashback to long before the Age of Arthur, young Merlin finds purpose after he is blessed with magic and immortality, but when he falls in love with a young refugee named Nimue, everything changes for Merlin, as their romance starts a chain of events that touches every one of our present day heroes, on 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images)
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'The Bear and the Bow' - In a Camelot flashback, a chance encounter with Merlin, David, Hook and Belle gives Merida new hope in her quest to save her brothers from the usurping clans of DunBroch. Unwilling to leave anything up to fate, Merida brings Belle along on a dangerous journey that culminates with an invaluable lesson in bravery. In Storybrooke, Regina, Mary Margaret and David discover the spell that would allow one of Merlin's chosen to communicate with him, but when Arthur fails to reach the missing sorcerer the heroes grow suspicious. Meanwhile, Emma commands Merida to kill Belle in hopes of forcing Mr. Gold's heroic transformation. With Merida unable to disobey Emma's orders, Gold must find the courage to fight for Belle's life or risk losing her forever, on 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network (Ed Araquel/ABC via Getty Images)
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'The Price' - In an effort to protect Emma, Regina steps up in a surprising way that will test her mettle as a force for good. King Arthur and Queen Guinevere throw a royal ball to welcome the heroes to Camelot, but when the celebration takes a deadly turn, David and Robin must leap into action or lose a crucial asset in the fight to save Emma. Back in Storybrooke, Hook deploys a tried-and-true technique in hopes of bringing Emma back to the light while the heroes discover that some unexpected baggage has followed them home from Camelot, on 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, OCTOBER 4 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images)
ONCE UPON A TIME - 'The Dark Swan' - Immediately after becoming the Dark One, Emma disappears and the heroes must band together to save her, but first they have to find her, which will require the help of an unlikely ally. Meanwhile, in the Enchanted Forest, Emma struggles to resist her dark urges as she searches for Merlin in the hope that he can stop her transformation. Along the way to Camelot, she gets help from the plucky and brave warrior princess Merida, as well as King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, in the adventure-filled season five premiere of 'Once Upon a Time,' SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jack Rowand/ABC via Getty Images)
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