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The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons reflects on coming out as gay ‘through the back door’

Patrick Kelleher August 12, 2020
Jim Parsons was 'frightened' of Pride parades before coming out

Jim Parsons (Frazer Harrison/Getty)

Jim Parsons has opened up about his decision to come out as gay in 2016, saying it was a “great thing” for him.

Parsons, who played Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, spoke about his coming out experience on David Tennant’s podcast.

Tennant said: “It’s interesting when you have the success that you have had and you also happen to be gay, you become de facto an activist.

“The very fact that you admit that in a world where still not everyone who’s in that position is willing to talk about it…”

Parsons replied: “That’s right. And that was my last hurdle with coming out. The press. I knew that ‘you’ll be a gay actor from here on out’.

“And now, looking back, not only has it not been a bad thing for me, it’s been the opposite and a great thing for me, it’s not untrue, but also I don’t mind.”

Jim Parsons said coming out as gay was an organic process.

Tennant asked Parsons if it felt like “a big decision”, but the actor said it was an organic process.

“I was doing an interview the year after A Normal Heart with The New York Times and Patrick Healy was interviewing me and he just asked, ‘Was it more meaningful to you to be part of A Normal Heart because you’re gay?’ I went, ‘Yes.’

“And I just thought, I sort of came out through the back door, which again sounds dirty in this conversation. But it kind of was appropriate because, to your first question, I wasn’t trying to hide from my friends and family.”

Parsons, 47, has previously opened up about his struggle with coming out publicly while still working on The Big Bang Theory.

Looking back, not only has it not been a bad thing for me, it’s been the opposite and a great thing for me.

The series started when Parsons was 33 and became hugely successful – and the actor was afraid that his coming out could “cause trouble”.

“I was 33 when I started doing The Big Bang Theory, and things started to become much higher-profile very quickly. So I wasn’t some spring chicken,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in June.

“But I hadn’t grown up even close to the era we are in now, as far as what it meant to tell somebody you were gay. I think it’s undeniably different than it was 20 years ago.

“So I was scared. I wasn’t scared about losing my job. And I wasn’t scared to the point of denying my sexuality. But I was scared enough to make it my mission not to talk about it. I was scared enough to be nervous the first time I was even nominated for the Emmy.

“And I was scared that it might cause trouble, quote unquote, for our big television show.”

More: coming out, david tennant, Gay, Jim Parsons, the big bang theory

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