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‘Glee’ Star Chris Colfer Was Told Coming Out Would ‘Ruin’ His Career

By Emma Chance | Celebrity | June 5, 2024 |

By Emma Chance | Celebrity | June 5, 2024 |


Chris Colfer, the gay actor who played (one of many) gay characters on Glee, a show about a high school glee club, recently revealed that he was advised not to come out during the first season, as it would “ruin” his then-burgeoning career.

“I grew up in a very conservative town where being openly gay was dangerous,” he said on The View. “I remember when I got on [Glee] the role was written for me, and I did not know what the role was gonna be, and so I opened the script and when I read the script for the first time was when I saw that it was an openly gay character and I was terrified.”

He was struggling with his own identity and sexuality, and then he was handed this role where the character was doing the same thing. He was worried playing the role would out him, and the people around him encouraged that fear instead of helping him feel more comfortable.

“I had a lot of people tell me, ‘Do not come out whatever you do because it will ruin your career.’ So I hid for a little bit. But I also told them, ‘I can’t hide it with my voice…I’m more effeminate than most people. I can’t hide it.’ And they said, ‘Don’t worry. As long as you never address it, you’ll be rewarded for it in the end.’”

With that twisted advice in his head, he stayed in the closet. But it was an encounter with a fan that changed his mind.

“We went on this big poster signing tour right before the show came out, and this little boy secretly slid me an envelope when his parents weren’t looking and I opened it up and it was a little note that said, ‘Thank you,’ and there was a little paperclip chain that was the colors of the rainbow, and in that moment I knew, I have to come out.” He ultimately came out on Chelsea Lately in 2009, a very 2009 way to come out and I’m here for it.

“At the time, I was thinking, ‘Okay, yeah, if I’m an openly gay actor, yeah, I may never win a major award. I may never get to play a superhero,’ but I think being a beacon of positivity and providing that comfort for people is way more important than attention.”

Unfortunately, he was right in a way: his acting career did not exactly take off after he came out. But his writing career did, which is the reason why he was on The View in the first place, to promote the release of his 20th book (pause for the author to choke on her coffee), a young adult novel, Roswell Johnson Saves the World!

For those interested, his answer to being so prolific was: “I’m sure I’m just like, mentally ill and not diagnosed yet. Maybe I have good time management skills? For example, if you sit backward on the toilet, it becomes a desk!”