Years after making it big as openly gay Jack McFarland on the hit Will & Grace, Sean Hayes has gone public about his sexuality, confirming something many quietly thought for years was already fact: he is gay.
Hayes spoke out openly for the first time to The Advocate, his contribution to the gay movement and his much anticipated Broadway debut.
"I never have had a problem saying who I am," he said. "I am who I am. I was never in, as they say. Never."
It's been four years since Will and Grace went off the air. Since then, Hayes, 39, has played a wide range of roles in films such as 2002's Martin and Lewis, 2003's Pieces of April and 2007's The Bucket List in which he played Jack Nicholson's loyal assistant. Even now, as he prepares to make his Broadway debut in the first revival of the 1968 musical Promises, Promises, Hayes says he never felt an obligation to announce to the world that he was gay.
"I believe that nobody owes anything to anybody," he told the Advocate. "You are your authentic self to whom and when you choose to be, and if you don't know somebody, then why would you explain to them how you live your life?"
He added feeling hurt by the pressure to publicly come out after doing what he could to promote awareness. "I feel like I've contributed monumentally to the success of the gay movement in America, and if anyone wants to argue that, I'm open to it...Why would you go down that path with somebody who's done so much to contribute to the gay community? That was my beef about it. What more do you want me to do? Do you want me to stand on a float? And then what? It's never enough."
Hayes' friend Kristin Chenoweth and Broadway co-star defends him. "He is a private person. He's known for his character on Will and Grace but that's not who he is," she says. "So I'm so glad he feels free to talk now, but let me tell you something: Sean has never hidden anything. I don't think he was ever pretending to be anything he wasn't. And that's what to respect."