During a recent interview, out British
actor Rupert Everett said that he was “terrified” at the start of
the AIDS epidemic.
Everett, 61, is best known in the U.S.
for playing a gay friend in the 1997 film My Best Friend's Wedding
and Lord Arthur Goring in the 1999 movie An Ideal Husband.
Everett wrote, directed, and starred in the 2018 film The Happy
Prince about the Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde, who spent
two years in an English prison for having gay sex.
Everett: Oscar Wilde loved discovering people; Wouldn't have used
Appearing on ITV's Piers Morgan's
Life Stories, Everett told host Piers Morgan that he was “very
lucky” to have avoided contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
“You had a boyfriend who got HIV and
it developed into AIDS, and it must have been terrifying for you and
for him,” Morgan said.
“I was terrified of it, and of him,
at a certain point, too,” Everett answered.
“I certainly don't think it was me at
my best. And what's difficult for people to imagine now is what a
drawn out and painful and humiliating and scary death it was too.”
“Some friends of mine who survived it
and didn't have it were so amazing to their lovers and their friends.
I wasn't. I was scared shitless by it and kind of ran in the opposite
direction,” he said.
Everett described himself as “gay all
the way through” but he has also been romantically involved with
He said that he first learned about the
plague as his female lover at the time was taking a bath.
“I was watching the television and
this picture of this guy I used to sleep with came up,” Everett
explained. “And I knew. The world literally stood still. And as the
sound came in, they said: 'This guy is one of the first people to get
the new gay cancer.' So, I was really horrified and in shock from
then on. And we were immediately outcast.”