Sean Hayes officially comes out of the closet, finally

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I remember, back in the day (circa 1999), reading an interview with Will & Grace’s Sean Hayes in which he came across as very snippy and obsessed with not answering anyone’s questions, ever. Which, you know, is fine in general. If you don’t want to speak to journalists, don’t. But don’t sign on to do a promotional tour and then act like a bitch. What’s interesting is that was pretty much the last interview I ever read with him – I think he learned that if he didn’t want to talk about anything personal, he should stop giving interviews completely.

Now, I always assumed Sean was gay, although he never confirmed it. And no, I didn’t assume he was gay because he played a gay character. I thought he was gay because he never had a girlfriend, because he seemed to hate being asked about anything personal, and he because, you know, he beeped (trademark: Jack McFarland). Anyhoodle, Sean is finally coming out of the closet, but he still doesn’t sound happy about it. Here are some excerpts from The Advocate interview (full piece here):

On his concerns about his looks: “I’m so f-cking fat right now. I’m not even kidding… You haven’t seen me naked.” And with a Jack McFarland–like, high-pitched flourish, he adds, “Yet!”

On breaking network’s television’s gay glass ceiling: Out characters had been so rare on network TV that the media seized on two points: “Jack is too gay!” and “Will isn’t gay enough!” To Hayes, it was all unfair and inaccurate: “The [press] wrote, ‘The flamboyantly feminine over-the-top gay guy Jack…’ But if you didn’t apply ‘gay’ to Jack, he would just be the crazy next-door neighbor who had girls in the revolving [door].” Suddenly everyone wanted to know if Hayes himself was gay and how he felt about playing a gay character. Faced with the very real prospect of jeopardizing his chance at landing straight roles down the road, he started reciting stock answers, variations on what 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.

On all of the awards for playing Jack: “The first time I sat down at the Golden Globes, I looked at all these people—Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, I mean everybody was there—and the first thing I thought was, I can’t believe we’re all so lucky.”

On being typecast as the flaming homosexual: “This town’ll do that to you,” he complains. “It’ll just keep you in that box until you have no choice but to be the thing that they want you to be. There were like 50 commercials where I was the husband or the nerdy boy or whatever, and then I became famous for playing this gay guy,” he says. “It’s funny. But that’s how it goes. It’s not up to you. None of this is up to anybody. It’s what the suits decide for you. I was so naive to think that someone from a network actually cared about me personally. I was like, But they’re so nice!”

On not “coming out” while Will & Grace was on the air: “I never have had a problem saying who I am,” he states. “I am who I am. I was never in, as they say. Never. I believe that nobody owes anything to anybody… You are your authentic self to whom and when you choose to be, and if you don’t know somebody, then why would you explain to them how you live your life? I feel like I’ve contributed monumentally to the success of the gay movement in America, and if anyone wants to argue that, I’m open to it. You’re welcome, Advocate.

On criticism that he should have come out long ago: “Why would you go down that path with somebody who’s done so much to contribute to the gay community?” he asks. “That was my beef about it. What more do you want me to do? Do you want me to stand on a float? And then what? It’s never enough. That’s the thing about celebrity: It sets you up to fail because the expectation is so high of what’s needed, what’s wanted from you that the second you don’t [meet it], you disappoint people.”

On his life post-Will & Grace: “I was anxious to get back to my life before Will & Grace,” he says. “You do need that time to find who you are again. Who am I without this? With fame you can’t help but lose yourself. You want to be the one who says I’ll always remain the same, but it is humanly impossible to disallow fame to change you.”

On going back to television in the future: “Doing a sitcom, it’s a machine, it’s a factory. There’s nothing creative about it for an actor. There’s nothing new I’m going to discover for a character in episode 185. It’s just a pure punch-in, punch-out factory day job—and it’s a wonderful factory day job—but creatively it’s stifling.”

Does he still hang out with Will & Grace people? “Every day. Every day we sleep togeth­er, every day, we live in the same house,” he says with manic enthusiasm. “We’re just like the cast of Friends. We all love each other and we all get along, America. Everybody can sleep now!” Then he calms down and gives a serious, if brief, answer: “I do love all those guys and I do miss them very much. I talk to Megan a lot and I e-mail with Deb and Eric sometimes.”

And does he have a boyfriend? “I spend time with a special someone in my life,” he says. But after years of being burned, he won’t say another word about him or the quiet life they lead. “That’s it. That’s all I need,” he says. “I don’t need events. I don’t do a lot. I live my life like an 85-year-old man. I’m just quiet. It’s fantastic.”

[From The Advocate]

I always loved Sean for his incredible comedic gifts, for what he brought to the Jack character, and I always hoped Sean would break out in a bigger way, branching out into more television and film projects after Will & Grace. Since it went off the air, he has gotten some film and television work, but nothing that has been career-altering. I think he pretty much sat down for this interview to promote his Broadway debut in Promises, Promises, which is the musical version of Billy Wilder’s classic (and amazing) film The Apartment, originally starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Good luck to Sean!

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The Advocate cover courtesy of CoverAwards.

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27 Responses to “Sean Hayes officially comes out of the closet, finally”

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  1. Dorothy says:

    I thought for sure that he came out saying he was NOT gay when Will and Grace was on. ??? Not that I am surprised he is, good for him for coming out.

  2. LOVE ANGELINA says:

    Congrats to Sean Hayes…however I always thought he was gay, and I thought he had come out a long time ago. Whatever, lol congrats Sean, your a doll.

  3. ViktoryGin says:

    Finally. I remember having a conversation with a gay friend of mine about 10 years ago as I was just strengthening my gaydar. I asked my friend what he thought. He replied that there was just something too dead on about the way that he played Jack.

    I hope that he doesn’t get a lot of slack from the gay community with some wanting him to be the gay activist that he’s obviously not.

  4. dude says:

    I LOVE HIM!! he is soo funny! Good for him, not that he needed to come out. It was very clear he was but good for him anyhow!! Im a huge fan of his. Hope to see him in something soon.

  5. Toe says:

    C’mon people ….that second picture Kaiser chose says it ALL.
    I’m glad he came into the light.

  6. bellaluna says:

    Did you see him in “The Bucket List”? He was wonderfully, subtly hysterical. And I don’t care how long it took him to come out, or that he’s gay. I love him!

  7. gg says:

    He is absolutely presh. Love him. Never thought he was straight though.

  8. lucy2 says:

    Jack and Karen were by far the best things about Will & Grace!
    I like his take on all this, and that he chose to do things on his own terms.

  9. nona says:

    I’m happy for him for being gay.
    I don’t know of any straight woman who would find him remotely attractive.

    But as a gay guy = Yummy!

  10. Katija says:

    Wow! Did you guys also know that Oprah is black? And the Pope’s Catholic?

  11. photo jojo says:

    I adore him. He’s gorgeous and funny and talented.

  12. Tia C says:

    I love him too and of course this comes as no surprise. Hope he gets more work, I’d love to see him in a good comedy soon!

  13. daisyfly says:

    And the award for “NO DUH” goes to…

    I <3 Sean Hayes, and whether he’s gay, straight, purple, or packing serious man-only package, he’s always going to have it.

  14. I Choose Me says:

    I agree with every single word he said in that article. Can’t he just be gay and that’s it. Why does he have to ‘come out’ or be the poster boy for anything? I understand that there’s still a lot of negative stigmatism associated with being gay, (that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon) but as he said, he doesn’t owe anybody anything just because he happens to be famous as well as gay. Maybe if everyone were forced to reveal their sexual status and proclivities this whole stupid business about ‘coming out’ will become a thing of the past. I’ll go first: I’m a heterosexual female with possible bisexual leanings. I also enjoy bondage and light S&M. :)

  15. Lochie says:

    I don’t care if he is gay or not, in the closet or not. He was BRILLIANT as Just Jack.

  16. GatsbyGal says:

    His eyes are so creepy-sexy, I love it.

  17. Lucinda says:

    I have always thought he was FABULOUS! Oh, and I pretty much assumed he was gay too. Nothing but good wishes for him.

  18. Aww I miss Jack. He was the best part of that show.

  19. orion70 says:

    Jack and Karen made that show. I agree with the comment that he was brilliant in Bucket List.

  20. SpreadLove says:

    I miss that show. They should of done a Jack and Karen spin off. Or even just a “Just Jack” show.

  21. Emily says:

    @I Choose Me, I like the idea of everyone having to come out, it’d take the pressure off the queer kids. But I also don’t think everyone has to label themselves. I usually just say I’m gay cause it’s easier, but I also find some guys very attractive, and I have a substantail list of celebrities I’d turn straight for.

  22. mags says:

    he’s from my hometown! my high school french teacher loved him. she’d always gush about how funny he was when he was in school.
    i saw him once in town, he came to the 4th of july parade, i waved and he waved back. i giggled like a school girl, cause i was at the time.
    i think whatever he decides to do, whenever he decides to do it is just fine by me. i can’t imagine growing up in that small, conservative town in the mid west would have made him want to jump up and down proclaiming his sexuality either.

  23. Catlady says:

    I would love to see Sean do a serious, recurring role in Dexter.I’m not sure as to what type of character he should play, but for some reason I think that whatever it was he would shine on that show.

  24. Jen says:

    Man, he’s gorgeous. And I think just because he was really good at playing flamboyant (as Jack in W&G) doesn’t mean he can’t do other things – someone above mentioned his performance in ‘The Bucket List’, which I think is a great example of his subtlety. In a perfect world, his personal life would have absolutely no bearing on the roles in which he’s cast…but he’s right, they do tend to pigeonhole people in that town. What a waste of a great actor.

  25. Gemma says:

    I love Will&Grace and as someone already said Jack and Karen were the heart of the show. He is a fantastic actor and I wish nothing but the best for him.

  26. Alexa says:

    I LOVE him so bad it HURTS! And I’m a straight woman who’d definitely go for him – don’t understand the “no straight women would go for him” comment . . . AT ALL! He is precious and so lovable. My god – and Eric McCormick as Will was also to die for. (I want a threesome for my birthday!!!)

  27. Todd says:

    I had the pleasure of attending a dress rehearsal for the 2010 Tony Awards. I had heard of some buzz around Sean coming out and Republicans, but really didn’t know what was going on. Sean did a great job during the rehearsal (keep in mind some of the ego’s of those involved…”why do **I** need to be here?”). What struck me was that he 1) made out with a woman and commented “she’s too old for me” an obvious sarcastic allusion to the fact that she was a *she*, and then made a joke about “closet republicans” (didn’t make it to the televised Tony’s.) I want to know what the whole story is! He and the staff were obviously looking for ways to zing conservatives, but I’m missing the context. Anyone know? Overall, I could care less which way he swings, as long as he’s happy. I have SO many friends who when asked in confidence, admit to being gay, tried it once, think about it, might switch, depends on the person, etc., that for all I know, every one of us could be, might be, was or is gay. So let’s all get over it and move on. In MY opinion, just don’t make out in public…and that goes for ALL of us, straight or gay. But just my old-fashioned opinion. Screw it! Be who you are, be comfortable with it, and deal with the ramifications…it applies to sex, gender, business, hobbies, food preferences, and pretty much everything. And let everyone else do the same.