Alan Cumming has criticised stars who advise gay actors to stay in the closet.

He hit out at Rupert Everett and Richard Chamberlain, who are both gay, after they said that actors who come out lose roles.

Cumming, who is bisexual, told the Guardian: “I think it’s so mean-spirited.

“If you’re living a lie, that’s not healthy, and I think it is really irresponsible of [Richard] and Rupert to say those things.”

He added: “It’s about how you exist as a person in the world, and the idea that your work is more important than you as a person is a horrible, horrible message.

“I always think about a little gay boy in Wisconsin or a little lesbian in Arkansas seeing someone like me, and if I cannot be open in my life, how on earth can they?”

Chamberlain, who shot to fame as ‘Dr Kildare’, said in December that it was still “dangerous” for a gay actor to come out, while Everett said last year: “I would not advise any actor necessarily, if he was really thinking of his career, to come out.”