LGBT+ Stars Who Were Told To Keep Their Identity A Secret
Even though coming out to the LGBTQ+ community is increasingly celebrated, it remains an extremely difficult process, particularly for actors and musicians whose careers depend heavily on their public image.
In spite of the fact that coming to terms with one’s sexuality can be hard enough, it can be very disheartening for a person to feel as if the world doesn’t want to hear their authentic self, even when they are ready to do so. The LGBTQ+ community has even faced pressure from agents, casting directors, friends, and family to remain in the closet despite their expressed desire to come out.
Here are some stars who were recommended to stay in the closet for the sake of their career, but didn’t.
Barbara Walters asked him about his sexuality—something he hadn’t yet disclosed—on TV when he appeared in People’s Pride issue. He first refused to reply to Walters’ request to stop the rumors that he was gay, but eventually said, “I just don’t feel like it.”
Eight years after coming out, Martin explained on ‘The Daily Show’ that the decision to come out was so difficult because his loved ones warned him it would end his career. Getting confronted on TV about it, and being told to “shut down the rumors,” was a violating experience, and the singer admits he still suffers from PTSD whenever he reflects on Walters’ invasive interview.
She told Harper’s Bazaar UK that, early in her career, she was advised not to talk about her personal life because people may not like it, and even not to go out with her girlfriend in public, in order to get bigger roles, by “an old school mentality.”
I’ve been told to stay away from public displays of affection with your girlfriend because you might get a Marvel movie,” she said. “I’d rather not work with people like that.”
A year after he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his acting career, ‘Arrow’ star Haynes was told he could not come out as gay. That led to years of internal turmoil, which sadly landed him in rehab for anxiety.
When I moved to Los Angeles, I was told that I couldn’t be gay because I couldn’t work there. Then my management team and a team of people just literally told me I couldn’t be gay. As Colton explained to Andy Cohen, all his rumored hetero romances were lies, and they were meant to set me up with girls.
He advised her to date men in order to cover it up, and he also made inappropriate comments about her relationships with women. She said he once told her that she would never make it in Hollywood as a queer woman.
According to Delevingne, Harvey Weinstein once told her, “You will never make it in this industry as a gay woman — grow a beard.”
He revealed his identity in a 2012 interview. Although Miller refused to name names, they said people both inside and outside the industry lectured them on how they had “thwarted my own potential to be a leading man by doing a silly thing.” During the interview, Miller said he received “a lot of stern talking-tos” and was told that being honest had “made a mistake.”
Miller told ShortList: “I didn’t think I had done anything wrong, but I had moments of doubt after those conversations. But…what they said, in fact, was rubbish. It’s up to us to manifest the world we desire.”
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Evan Rachel Wood
In 2011, the actress disclosed that she was bisexual. “They tell you flat out, ‘don’t do it.’ They don’t want you to lose popularity with men,” she told IndieWire. “Because that helps your career sell tickets.”
In spite of what people told him, Wood said, “Nothing happened as I was told…you may be leaving one community behind, but you are embracing another.”
During her time on Disney Channel’s ‘That’s So Raven,’ the former star has opened up about the network controlling her image, including her sexual orientation.
In 2013, after her Disney run, she came out as a lesbian. “My likeness, whether you see it in an interview, whether you see it in print, whatever you see it at that time, had 15 people dictating what I should and shouldn’t look like,” she said. “I was branded at such a young age that I’m not going to sell whatever I want. If I did whatever I wanted, I won’t sell.”
The entertainment industry advised Elliot Page to come out as a lesbian before he came out as a transgender man. In Page’s opinion, “there’s a narrative that people hold dear: You cannot come out because it’s going to hurt your career.” It could be true, but I wasn’t naive when I came out.”
In the past, Page said, he has been “pressured—forced, in many cases—to wear dresses and heels for events and photo shoots. As if lesbians don’t wear dresses and heels.” But he said he would never wear anything he feels uncomfortable in again.
The actress, who at the time was landing roles opposite Nicolas Cage and Johnny Depp, was told she was “throwing away” her career after coming out as bisexual.
In an interview with Allure, Heard said people advised her to remain in the closet for the sake of her career. “I said, ‘You cannot do this any other way. Watch me,'” she said. “There was no other working romantic lead, no other actress who was out.”.
It was at a crucial point in his career that the actor decided to come out, when the risks became apparent to him. “I had a studio film about to premiere and a television series coming out,” he told Attitude. “However, for me, it was more important to be my authentic self, both for my family and myself.”
In spite of his regrets, he maintains that coming out was not a fairy-tale experience. “It did cost me some things in my career and I think it was worth it,” he declares.
‘Handmaid’s Tale’ actress Wiley says she was encouraged early on to hide her lesbian identity, even suggesting that she pretend to date her gay male friend to hide their respective sexualities.
On the podcast ‘Make It Reign,’ Wiley admitted that she worried she wouldn’t get there if she was out and open about who she really was. Thankfully, she came out anyway and has been very successful. “It’s just a journey of finding out, ‘No, you don’t have to do anything like that!”
Jonathan Bailey revealed to Attitude that most of the times he was told to stay in the closet were actually by other gay men in the industry. While he listened to them, he made his own decision.
The publicists and casting directors in ‘gay productions’ tended to tread very cautiously around openly gay roles. “There is a sense of shame among gay men in this industry,” he said.
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