In his first major interview since
coming out, former Disney star Garrett Clayton said that his father
and brother reacted badly to his coming out gay.
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
In Reach, currently in theaters,
Clayton plays a teen contemplating suicide.
In an Instagram post in August, Clayton
announced that he was gay and in a long-term relationship.
Speaking with Gay Times, Clayton
talked about his decision to discuss his sexuality and the pressure
to come out publicly before he was ready.
“The decision to come out was finally
feeling comfortable as me,” Clayton
said. “I just felt like, ‘OK, I’m finally ready to do
this’, and I think that’s the most important thing to take away
from this is that everyone has to do it when they feel comfortable.
If you let someone push you into something like this it can be
harmful if you’re not ready. That’s something I experienced
personally during King Cobra, where it felt like a lot of
journalists wanted me to come out, but I wasn’t ready.”
Clayton also revealed that his father
rejected him over his sexuality and that he hasn't spoken to his
brother since 2015.
“Before my dad moved to Florida I
kind of had a meltdown and told him, and he just hated it. A month or
two after that, when I was leaving my last day on the set of my first
movie – which was a huge step for me, I was so excited – he
freaked out because I was late. I came out to the car and he just
started screaming at me, and it boiled up to him screaming at me
about how he hated that I was gay, and he didn’t know what to do
with me. It was this horrible gut-wrenching fight right after one of
my first big accomplishments,” Clayton said.
“My brother reacted badly when I told
him, too. I don’t want to put him on blast, because he’s still my
family, but I do feel that honesty in this situation is important. A
few years ago, when same-sex marriage was legalized, my brother was
furious, and he went online posting about how the American flag was
gonna be a rainbow soon, like, ‘What’s happening to America?’
And I remember seeing that and thinking, ‘You have a gay brother,
you idiot!’ So I went on his Facebook like, ‘So wait a minute,
you’re telling me that there can be someone you care about in your
life, who wants to impede nothing on yours, and just wants the same
rights as you, and you would take that away from them?’ And then he
blocked me. If my brother wants to reconnect with me, I welcome it
wholeheartedly. I’m a big believer in people learning from their
mistakes. But not every story gets a happy ending,” he added.