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Nathan Lane Says Robin Williams ‘Protected’ Him From Being Outed By Oprah In 1996

Nathan Lane Says Robin Williams ‘Protected’ Him From Being Outed As Gay On The Oprah Winfrey Show In 1996

Nathan Lane is remembering his friend Robin Williams — as a “saint.”

For so many years now, the acclaimed Broadway darling has been a beacon to the LGBTQIA+ community, serving as a longtime board member and fundraiser for the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS nonprofit. Frankly it’s difficult to imagine a time before he was comfortable publicly owning his sexuality.

Funny enough, when he was cast alongside Williams in his first major motion picture role for 1996’s The Birdcage, where the two portrayed gay men, he was not yet out of the closet! Now he’s revealing the late, great Robin helped him to maintain his discretion throughout the film’s press tour.

Related: Prince William Spotted At A Gay Hotspot In Poland!

While chatting with Sunday Today over the weekend, the Only Murders in the Building star remembered how nervous he was to be interviewed on The Oprah Winfrey show all those years ago, as he wasn’t quite ready to come out: 

“I was not prepared at all for that. And I certainly wasn’t ready to go from table-to-table and tell them all I was gay. I just wanted to talk about finally [getting] a big part in a movie, and I didn’t want to make it about my sexuality.”

He was aware that would be “sort of unavoidable because of the nature of the film” — but remembered confiding in Williams prior to being infamously grilled about his sexuality by Oprah Winfrey, who he was worried would ask the serious questions: 

“I don’t think Oprah was trying to out me, but I said to Robin beforehand, ‘I’m not prepared. I’m so scared of going out there and talking to Oprah. I’m not prepared to discuss that I’m gay on national television. I’m not ready.’”

He recalled his co-star quickly coming to his support in that moment:

“He said, ‘Oh, it’s alright, don’t worry about — we don’t have to talk about it. We won’t talk about it.’”

The Emmy winner then reminisced on the sort of questions Oprah asked, like, “How come you’re so good at that girlie stuff?” and “Are you worried about being typecast?” before Robin “sort of swoops in and diverts Oprah, goes off on a tangent and protects me because he was a saint.” The Aladdin star could definitely go on a tangent! So glad he was using that power for good! You can see for yourself (below)! 

Nathan was certainly grateful! He added: 

“I just wasn’t ready to do that. Now you have to make a public statement about it – I was terrified… It’s great that everyone now feels comfortable, but homophobia is alive and well and there are plenty of gay people who are still hiding.”

Sad but true…

Related: JoJo Siwa BLASTS Backlash She Received For Coming Out

It’s so heartwarming to hear Nathan remember the late Dead Poets Society star as such “a beautiful, sensitive soul.” See the full clip (below): 

What a touching story! Robin really was one of the greats…

Reactions, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments down below.

[Images via NBC & Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/YouTube & WENN]

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Mar 27, 2023 16:21pm PDT