Sean Hayes played one of the most iconic gay characters ever on television during his run on Will & Grace, but he was still in the closet at the time.
The 46-year-old actor didn’t come out as gay until 2010, several years after the series went off the air.
Sean was presented with an award at the 2016 Outfest Legacy Awards on Sunday night (October 23) in Los Angeles and he apologized for not coming out sooner. The award was presented by Dax Shepard and the actor was joined by husband Scott Icenogle at the ceremony.
“[The press release] said that I took the stereotypical gay sissy and made him human, lovable, flawed and real. While this may be true, I think you should’ve led with flawed because at the time, I was a young closeted actor having his first taste of a little success and unfortunately, in my mind, my lucky break was inextricably tied to me thinking that i had to stay in the closet in order to keep moving forward,” Sean said in his speech (via THR). “Looking back at my choice to stay silent, I am ashamed and embarrassed. What was I thinking? As If any of you had any doubts. I mean, right, could a straight actor ever do this…?”
“When it comes to night’s like tonight and honors like this, I’m consumed with what I didn’t do,” Sean continued. “I know I should’ve come out sooner and I’m sorry for that. Especially when I think about the possibility that I might have made a difference in someone’s life. I would probably be able to sleep a lot better than I do if I had acted sooner, but such is life. We learn our lessons only when we are ready.”
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