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Honored as ‘trailblazer,’ Sean Hayes apologizes for not coming out sooner

Honored as ‘trailblazer,’ Sean Hayes apologizes for not coming out sooner

Sean Hayes starred on Will & Grace 1998 - 2006.

Sean Hayes received a standing ovation at The Legacy Awards on Sunday (23 October) after a remarkable speech in which he expressed regret – publicly – over not coming out sooner.

‘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,’ Hayes told the crowd of more than 400 at Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles.

‘When it comes to night’s like tonight and honors like this, I’m consumed with what I didn’t do,’ Hayes admitted.

‘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.’

Fame came for Hayes in 2008 with his Emmy-winning role as Jack Macfarland on TV’s Will & Grace.

Hayes remained closeted publicly throughout the show’s eight year run then came out in 2010.

‘Today I stand before you as a proud gay man and I humbly accept this award on behalf of all of us,’ Hayes said at the end of his speech.

‘This award is as much mine as it is yours.’ The evening was in support of the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project which is dedicated to preserving and restoring LGBTI films.

Also honored were Transparent creator Jill Soloway with the Visionary Award and Freeform network president Tom Ascheim accepted the Corporate Trailblazer Award.