9-1-1: Lone Star actor Ronen Rubinstein comes out as bisexual after gay role helped him realise his truth
9-1-1: Lone Star actor Ronen Rubinstein has come out as bisexual after playing a gay man on the show, saying the role gave him the confidence to accept himself.
The Israeli-American actor and activist, 27, currently stars as Rob Lowe’s gay son TK Strand on the drama series about fire, police and ambulance teams in Austin, Texas.
He opened up about his sexuality in an interview with Variety on Wednesday (7 April), telling the publication: “I fully identify as bisexual.”
“I literally just got goosebumps saying that,” he added. “It feels so good to talk about it, it feels so good to finally be comfortable with it.”
He’s fully supported by his girlfriend Jessica Parker Kennedy, 36, who insisted he embrace his true self after years of hiding.
Ronen Rubinstein moved to the US from Israel aged five, and says the homophobia he experienced growing up made him afraid to accept his sexuality.
“The biggest thing for me is where I come from, it’s like people like me and people who have identified as bisexual or gay or as any part of the community, you’re just not welcomed. It’s as brutally honest as that,” he said.
“It’s either you faced insane amounts of profanity, like the F-word was thrown around all the time or you would get your ass kicked if you were gay.
“So there was definitely a fear of sort of embracing how I felt. I was definitely more aware of it in high school. I was aware of my feelings and how I started looking at men, but I couldn’t talk to anybody about it.”
Rubinstein called his awakening “a journey” that was enabled by his work as an actor – particularly on 9-1-1: Lone Star.
The show is produced by Pose creator Ryan Murphy and features a sweet relationship between TK Strand and police officer Carlos Reyes, played by out gay actor Rafael L Silva.
Ronen Rubinstein revealed that before he came out to friends and family he anxiously waited to see their reaction to a particularly steamy scene.
“Carlos and I have a huge make-out scene where we, like, burst through the door, and we’re ripping our clothes off,” he said. “It’s super hot and it just goes on. It just doesn’t stop. We’re, like, crashing against the walls, and then we end up on the couch.
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“I warned my parents and my friends for months. I said, ‘Listen, I understand if you guys don’t want to watch it, I understand you probably might say some really ignorant, close-minded stuff or you just might not want to watch it and I get that too.'”
In the end, it didn’t matter what they thought because TK and Carlos were a hit.
Fans were quick to ship the two even before the series came out, and by the time clips of the sex scene were release viewers had crowned the couple “Tarlos”.
Ronen Rubinstein revealed that the incredible acceptance towards his character on the show would eventually pave the way for him to start accepting himself.
“The fans, especially the Tarlos fans, it’s one of the biggest reasons that I finally felt safe and comfortable to talk about it and to finally embrace it and be happy about it,” he said.