Out actor Sean Hayes, who is best known
for playing Jack McFarland on the NBC comedy Will & Grace,
has said that he was taught to keep his sexuality a secret.
In a cover interview with UK LGBT
glossy Attitude, Hayes discussed why he stayed closeted during
the show's initial run.
Hayes, whose campy Will & Grace
character is gay, came out in 2010, roughly 12 years after the
show debuted on NBC.
Hayes said that he was “too scared”
to come out earlier.
“It was a scary time,” Hayes
said. “We got death threats, [people] could find out where I
lived, and I was playing a gay character in a big hit show.”
“I was too scared. I wasn't looking
to be an activist of any kind. I didn't have the courage and the
strength at such a young age to speak on behalf of the gay
“We were taught by society in the
seventies and eighties that being gay was an awful thing … I was
taught to keep it a secret. I was taught to be ashamed of it.”
“Time's up in a different way for the
gay community to show the world that we're okay with ourselves and
I'm done taking care of [other people's] awkwardness around it,” he
In 2014, Hayes married longtime partner
Scott Icenogle, a music producer.