Lesbian actress Amber Heard has said people in her profession are dissuaded from coming out in Hollywood and end up becoming part of a “detrimental lie”.

The Rum Diary star told Women’s Health magazine: “You can’t respect yourself if you’re afraid to be who you are. It requires bravery to do something no one else around you is doing.

“But the risk was outweighed by the possibility of playing into this horribly detrimental lie that some in Hollywood perpetuate.”

Heard and Tasya van Ree had been a couple for two years when Heard came out publicly, saying she did not want to be “part of the problem” by staying in the closet.

Heard adds her voice to a spectrum of opinion on the subject.

In 2009, Rupert Everett said gay actors should stay in the closet to avoid damaging their careers.

Veteran actor Richard Chamberlain said it was “dangerous” to come out last year.

And the US entertainment commentator Ramin Setoodeh provoked a storm of controversy earlier in 2011 after criticising gay actors’ abilities to play straight, and straight actors’ rights to play gay.

In September, actors’ union Equity began a poll of its members to gauge experience of homophobia in the industry.