This Sean Hayes coming out story will break your heart. The Will & Grace star recalls the painful response his mother had when he told her the truth about his sexuality when he was 18 years old.
“It was 1988 when I came out,” Hayes told People’s Jess Cagle. “It’s so cliché that it was during Thanksgiving weekend. My mom said I needed to go see a therapist.”
But his mother’s reaction to the news didn’t end there. “She wrote me a 10-page letter, both sides on legal pad size paper,” he added. “‘This is not what God’ … you know, the whole uneducated view of it.”
Things of course turned around for Hayes. “She became educated and had friends who [were] gay people,” he explained. “She was like, ‘Oh I see. You’re just like me.’ And all that. It became fine and wonderful, and then she became so supportive and awesome.”
Thats not the only Sean Hayes coming out story we remember. For much of Hayes’ career and life in the spotlight as Jack, he never brought up his own personal sexual orientation. He told the Detroit Free Press early on:
“When I play a gay character I want to be as believable as possible. And when I’m playing a straight character I also want to be as believable as possible. So the less that people know about my personal life, the more believable I can be as a character.” And Hayes never pretended to be something he wasn’t; he never walked some pretty woman down the red carpet or faked a straight relationship.”
He never even gave an interview to The Advocate, declining their request eight straight years in a row. They ended up running a shady article titled “Sean Hayes: The Interview He Never Gave” that mocked the open-secret of his homosexuality.
Four years later, and four years after Will & Grace ended, he did finally sit down with The Advocate and officially came out on the record, even though he feels he never needed to do that. He did so by berating The Advocate for that first article proclaiming, “Really? You’re gonna shoot the gay guy down? I never have had a problem saying who I am. I am who I am. I was never in, as they say. Never.”
In his new interview with People, Hayes adds that he’s happy Will & Grace is back on the air as young people can point to it if they need examples of queer people to show family when they come out.
“If you don’t have the words to explain it to your family, you can say, ‘Like ‘Will & Grace,’ or ‘Like Ellen DeGeneres,’ or whosoever out in a public,” he said. “There’s so many more examples now to help people and give them tools to communicate to kids and their families that being gay is a normal as being straight. There’s no difference.”