For eight years, Sean Hayes played one of the most openly gay characters on television.
But during the 1998-2006 run of NBC’s Will & Grace, the actor refused to discuss his own sexuality.
It’s something the now completely out and proud actor wishes he had handled differently.
‘I had personal issues inside of myself that I regret,’ the 45-year-old admits to Playbill.
‘I regret not coming out sooner and helping more people, and I regret not coming out during the show.’
Hayes had been out since his teens to all who knew him but when fame came, there was suddenly pressure to also share this news with the world.
He simply wasn’t ready.
‘I got Will & Grace, and I thought, “Oh, this is different. I don’t know how to handle this. I’m not bright enough, I’m not quick enough, I don’t have the DNA to be a spokesperson for any kind of group of people.”‘
When he landed the iconic role of flamboyant and hilarious Jack McFarland, Hayes had just become known for his role as a gay filmmaker in the independent movie Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss.
‘Everybody in the gay community knew I was gay, but it was this fight I had with the press because they want you to come out on their terms, and other gay people want you to come out on their terms, and if you don’t come out on their terms you’re just an asshole, and you’re wrong,’ he says.
‘Well, each individual human being has a lot of stuff that nobody knows about. Nobody knows what anybody else is going through at any point in their lives.’
Hayes married Scott Icenogle in 2014 after eight years as a couple. He is currently starring on Broadway in the play An Act of God and is a busy television producer with such credits as Hot in Cleveland, Grimm and Hollywood Game Night.