American actor Sean Maher, best known for his roles in TV’s The Playboy Club and Firefly, has come out as gay in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
It is the first time that the 36-year-old actor has spoken about his sexuality in his 14 years in the entertainment industry.
“This is my coming out ball. I’ve been dying to do this,” he told the magazine.
Maher said that he was initially nervous about coming out but now feels that “it’s so liberating. It was interesting to be coming to have a conversation that I was always afraid to have”.
“I’ve never discussed it publicly. I’ve never been asked about it publicly, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t paint a different picture,” Maher admitted.
He said that when he started working on his first show, publicists advised him from coming out because they wanted him to appeal to a female demographic.
“I was young, I was 22. I didn’t know anything. So that sort of started the idea of, okay, well, I’m working a lot, I guess I’ll just keep that gay part of my life on the back burner for now. I went so far as to sleep with women a couple times. It was a very confusing time for me.”
According to Entertainment Weekly, the actor now lives with his partner of nine years, Paul, and their two children, Sophia Rose, 4, and Liam Xavier, 14 months.
Maher said that his family was one of the reasons he decided to come out.
“I have these beautiful children and this extraordinary family and to think in any way shape or form that that’s wrong or that there’s shame in that or that there’s something to hide actually turns my stomach,” he said.
“What would [his daughter] think if I said, ‘Oh honey, you can’t come with me to work because they don’t know I have an adopted daughter and they don’t know that I’m gay.”
In the new television series The Playboy Club, Maher plays a closeted gay man who is in a sham marriage with a closeted lesbian Playboy Bunny.