In a new interview, out actor Russell Tovey says that his father thought being gay could be “cured.”

Tovey, 39, is best known in the US for his roles in HBO's Looking and ABC's Quantico. He also appeared on the BBC's Years and Years and Doctor Who.

Speaking with The Times, Tovey said that he came out to his parents at 18 and that they struggled with the announcement.

“My dad thought it could be cured,” he said. “He was scared about what my life would be like. To him, being gay was a road of pitfalls and unhappiness; out of love he wanted to correct this weakness, to put cotton wool around me and protect me from all that.”

“I don't think either of my parents were homophobic, they just didn't know any gay people or anyone with gay kids. They had nothing to cling to,” he said.

Tovey's mother, whom he described as the “most important person” in his life, added: “I think it was to do with pride, his idea of what makes you a man. He thought we'd somehow made Russell gay. He said: 'We'll get him hormone treatment.' He found it hard to see that Russ was happy and we had to accept it.”

Tovey's father eventually came around.