In a powerful Instagram post, former Disney star Garrett Clayton discussed his sexuality for the first time publicly, saying that he's been in a relationship with a man “for a long time.”

Clayton, 27, is best known for his portrayal of Tanner in the Disney Channel's Teen Beach Movie and its sequel Teen Beach 2. He also appeared in NBC's Hairspray Live.

In the upcoming movie Reach, Clayton plays a teen contemplating suicide.

“With the release of my new movie REACH coming up, I thought it was important to explain why I took on this project in the first place,” Clayton wrote. “REACH deals with some very serious and timely topics that have affected me personally, and have likely influenced many of your lives as well. (I also prefer to share things that are particularly important for me here on my IG) instead of in some random magazine or online article - because you are the ones that have been rooting for me and following me on my professional and personal journey in life.”

“When I read the script for REACH, I immediately knew it was a film I had to be a part of. I have personally dealt with suicide within my own family, intense bullying in high school, and - on top of it all - myself and the man I’ve been in a relationship with for a long time (@hrhblakeknight) have both experienced shootings within our hometown school systems, and have witnessed the heartache that takes place in affected communities after such tragic events. These topics - not always easy to discuss- are all close to my heart, and, knowing how serious they are, I wanted to share this with you all. This film has come from the perspectives of people who care deeply about these issues, and if watching it helps even one person... then it was all worth it. [heart emoji],” he added.

On his Instagram account, Blake Knight describes himself as “Writer in LA.”

“So proud of @garrettclayton1 today!” Knight wrote in a post. “He's overcome a lot, and still has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I've ever met. Handsome, talented, hilarious, kind...what's not to love?! It's been an awesome journey all over the world together so far, and I'm looking forward to many more years and trips and puppies and movies and naps and dinners and friends! I love you, Gary!”

After he played gay porn star Brent Corrigan in the James Franco-produced film King Cobra, Clayton said that he did not “think it's pertinent to talk” about his personal life. “I don't think it adds to the work; it just distracts from it,” he said.