Former Frasier actor David Hyde Pierce has spoken of his anger at Proposition 8, the initiative which banned gay marriage in California.

The intensely private star, who played Niles Crane in the show, married TV producer Brian Hargrove, his partner of 25 years, in the autumn of 2008, just before Prop 8 was passed by voters.

Speaking to Metro, he said: “As a person who is least happy calling attention to themselves, to have to be suddenly very public about their life, and who felt very angry about the government interfering, was very painful.”

He added: “I’d love to just shut up about gay rights but so many gay men are not able to live their lives in the same meaningful way as other people.”

When he was asked whether being an actor who dislikes attention is a contradiction, he replied: “Actually, most actors are the same. You only show off on stage because that’s the place where you aren’t you. Acting gives you permission to do stuff you’ve never done before.”