For eight years on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace, Sean Hayes played the hilarious gay character of Jack McFarland to such perfection that he won an Emmy and was nominated for six others.
During the show's long run, Hayes declined to discuss the fact that in real life, he is also gay. But that changed two years ago when in an interview with The Advocate, he talked about being gay and insisted that he had never tried to hide that fact.
'I never have had a problem saying who I am,' he told the magazine. 'I am who I am. I was never in, as they say. Never.'
But he's still being asked about the years where it appeared to many that he had been skirting the issue. In a tense interview with Huffington Post this week to promote his new movie The Three Stooges, the reporter characterized Hayes as being 'ambiguous' during his years on the sitcom.
'You're open about it now, but if "Will & Grace" were on today, would you handle that differently?' asked interviewer Mike Ryan.
Replied a clearly irritated Hayes: 'What is 'it' and 'that? ... It's 2012, you can say the word 'gay.''
Ryan repeated the question if Hayes would remain 'ambiguous' if Will & Grace were just starting today. Well, the show wasn't about me being gay or not,' the actor said.
The conversation was then brought back to The Three Stooges, a comedy which opens Friday. Hayes plays Larry Fine in the movie which also stars Will Sasso, Chris Diamantopoulos, Jane Lynch, Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Hudson and Larry David.
Since acknowledging his sexuality publicly, Hayes has starred on Broadway in the musical Promises, Promises. During the 2010 run, a writer named Ramin Setoodeh penned a controversial article for Newsweek in which he implied that it’s impossible for openly gay actors, like Hayes, to be believable as straight characters.
The show's producers, Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, were incensed and characterized the observations of Setoodeh, who is gay, as 'self-loathing.'