Will & Grace actor Sean Hayes has confirmed he is gay – adding that he was “never in” the closet.

The star, who played gay character Jack McFarland in the sitcom, has been criticised in the past for not declaring his sexual orientation.

In an interview with Advocate, he said: “I never have had a problem saying who I am. I am who I am. I was never in, as they say. Never.”

The magazine had criticised him for giving media interviews in which he skirted around the topic of his sexuality, despite it being an open secret in Hollywood.

Hayes said: “Nobody owes anything to anybody. 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?

“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. You’re welcome, Advocate.”

On the magazine’s criticism, he added: “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.”

The actor also confirmed he was in a relationship, saying only: “I spend time with a special someone in my life. That’s it. That’s all I need. I don’t need events. I don’t do a lot. I live my life like an 85-year-old man. I’m just quiet. It’s fantastic.”