Sean Hayes Opens Up About Coming Out to the Media

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Tuesday October 29, 2013

Actor Sean Hayes, best known for his role as the flamboyant Jack McFarland from the groundbreaking NBC sitcom "Will & Grace," says he owes the LGBT community an apology for coming out too late in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

In the interview, Hayes was asked if he thought he played Jack "too gay."

"I was so young," Hayes said. "It made me go back in the closet [with the media] because I was so overwhelmed at 26 or 27. I didn't want the responsibility, I didn't know how to handle the responsibility of speaking for the gay community. I always felt like I owed them a huge apology for coming out too late. Some people in the gay community were very upset with me for not coming out on their terms."

"They don't stop to think about what's going on in somebody's personal life, and the struggles that they're having. It was all very scary," he continued. "We got death threats. It was a really rough time for me, but I was also having the time of my life."

The Huffington Post reports that a number of LGBT media outlets criticized Hayes, 43, for not admitting to being gay around the time "Will & Grace" premiered in 1998.

In 2010 he defended himself in an interview with the Advocate and said he "I am who I am. I was never in, as they say. Never." and officially came out to the media, saying, "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."

Hayes currently stars in a new sitcom, "Sean Saves the World," where he plays a single gay father with a teen daughter. The actor says he isn't trying to send any message about gay parenting, however.

"I want to make people laugh first, and that's it," he told the LA Times. "If a byproduct of that is enlightening somebody to something they wouldn't otherwise have been exposed to, then great, but that's certainly not the agenda or the intent of the show."