Sean Maher, the actor best known for Firefly and currently starring in The Playboy Club, has recently come out of the closet!
Whoo! Score one for visibility and progress!
This is after fourteen years of concealing his sexuality for his acting career.
In a recent EW interview, Sean decided the time was now, and told his story:
I [was] 22, I move to L.A., and it’s such a cliché, but the day I arrive, publicists from the show [I was working on at the time] took me out to The Ivy for lunch. They’re telling me, ‘You know, gosh, we’d really appreciate it if you could keep your girlfriend on the side because we want to appeal to the female demographic of the show.’
At that moment, I didn’t think to say, ‘Oh, I’m gay,’ because right before I left New York, I had my manager tell me: ‘You need to get a girl on your arm or people will start talking.’ I remember telling him: ‘I’m gay.’ He had no idea. And he said: ‘All the more reason to get a girl on your arm.’ My agent was also like, ‘It’s best if you keep your options open. Maybe bisexual?’
So I kept thinking, This is my first show, I don’t want to get fired. I’m thinking, What is the potential that if they caught wind that they had cast a gay lead actor that they would fire me? I was young, I was 22. I didn’t know anything. So that sort of started the idea of, okay, well, I’m working a lot, I guess I’ll just keep that gay part of my life on the back burner for now. I went so far as to sleep with women a couple times. It was a very confusing time for me.
[Being in the closet] was so exhausting, and I was so miserable. I didn’t really have any life other than work and this façade I was putting on. So I kept my friends from college [where he was out] separate from my work friends, and that was very confusing. I just kept going on and on painting this picture of somebody I wasn’t. I didn’t have time for a personal relationship anyway. And you just don’t realize that it’s eating away at your soul.
I don’t think I have regrets. I do believe that sort of this journey took me to the place where I got and I don’t think I would feel so strongly about doing what I’m doing now had I not suffered for the years that I did.
Creatively, I feel so much more open and free, and I am so happy on The Playboy Club. I think it’s because I’ve never been so open on set. All of the relationships that I have off-camera, I never would have allowed five years ago. It feels so liberating.
Sean is the father of two beautiful children, both of whom he parents with his partner of nine years.
We applaud you, Sean! Better late than never! We bet it's definitely not the easiest being gay as an actor in Hollywood, but you decided to hell with all that, and we completely support you!!!
You have a lot of proud fans, Sean. And not just because you're brave, because you ARE a good actor, and that's what your career is about!
[Image via Adam Bouska.]