Matt Dallas on Hollywood closet: “I had so many people in my head telling me how to act and how to behave”
Matt Dallas can laugh now, but his former life as a gay man living as a straight man wasn’t a joke.
While portraying the boyishly cute titular character with the non-existent navel on ABC Family’s 2006-launched teen sci-fi drama Kyle XY, he was a guest on The Howard Stern Show and the host was obsessed with Matt’s sexuality. It was not until 2013 that the actor came out publicly, matter-of-factly announcing his engagement to now-husband Blue Hamilton. In 2015, they adopted their son, Crow.
Here is an excerpt 0f Matt’s new interview with Chris Azzopardi of PrideSource:
Do you think it’s easier now for actors to be out from the get-go?
One-hundred percent. I should say, I don’t know. It’s definitely a different time. When we were shooting “Kyle XY,” I still had agents at the time and people telling me that I had to hide being gay and had to work with a speech coach and go on carpets with a girl on my arm. We were just in a very different point in society than we are now. I was in my early 20s, I had finally just had my first taste of real success, and felt like I could accomplish what I had come to L.A. to do but like it was all being taken away from me. I was so afraid of that happening, because I had so many people in my head telling me how to act and how to behave.
I was afraid to come out. Sure, people still are today. But I do think as a society and an industry we have come so far. Now, we celebrate individuality. Especially in the industry, we still have a ways to go. We still don’t see openly gay actors play leading men roles. You have “Love, Simon,” but we don’t have an openly gay actor playing a superhero yet or playing a “Mission: Impossible” character.
In 2006, you appeared on “The Howard Stern Show” and denied claims Perez Hilton had made that you were gay. Have you followed up with Howard on this?
(Laughs) No. That was the last time I spoke to him. Dude, that was just the worst day of my life. I woke up – it was 3 a.m. Los Angeles time – to do this interview. I was so unprepared to go on “Howard Stern,” and I should’ve known better. My publicist told me at the time – promised me, swore up and down – that he would not bring up the whole gay thing. It wasn’t even a minute or two, and the whole interview became about it.
Fifteen minutes of you being asked how many women you’d slept with.
It was brutal. I remember sweating and being so nervous the whole interview because I was just not prepared to handle that. I was so naive, everything. And I literally hung up from that and went and crawled in bed under the blanket and would not get up that entire day. I just should not have taken that interview to begin with, but I was like, “Howard Stern! My dad loves Howard Stern! I’m gonna do his show!” And I was most embarrassed for my dad to hear it, more than anybody else. I was just like, “Ugh, my dad listening to me go on for 15 minutes about all the girls I slept with in high school.” (Laughs) I can laugh about it now.
Do you think LGBTQ actors are still forced to stay in the closet by Hollywood handlers?
Yeah, I’m sure, but we’re in a different place now. As a society, we’re more used to talking about it. So, these actors have seen other people go through this already; there are a lot more openly gay actors and more options of how to handle it now than there was then, when it was so swept under the rug. There was no blueprint.