Openly gay Matt Bomer told Ellen DeGeneres that reading The Normal Heart at 14 saved his life.

Director Ryan Murphy's adaptation of Larry Kramer's Tony-winning play premiered last week on HBO.

In the movie about the early days of the AIDS pandemic in New York City, Bomer plays Felix Turner, a closeted fashion reporter for The New York Times.

Appearing on DeGeneres' daytime talk show, Bomer, the 36-year-old star of USA's White Collar, said reading the play at age 14 had a profound effect on him.

The movie “really is about love,” Bomer said. “It's about a community that decided to save itself, because society was pretty much universally shunning them and ignoring them. And they saved each other through love.”

“I read it [at 14] and my world changed. It changed my entire worldview and educated me. And I'm sure on some level [it] saved my life. Not just in the fact that it encouraged me to practice safe sex, but also in the fact that I knew somewhere out there, there was somebody who understood me and would stand by me, and stand up for me. And Larry Kramer was the person that did that for me,” he added. (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)