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Some are shining examples of standing up for LGBTQ+ rights in today’s world of Hollywood, while some were forced to keep their true self a secret because of fear of unacceptance and ridicule. From members of the Golden Age of Hollywood to members of today’s hottest movies and shows, these actors are known not just for their award-winning performances but their bravery in staying true to who they are.
Here’s a list of the 59 most famous gay actors in Hollywood.
1. Neil Patrick Harris
We have just one word to describe this first entry on our most famous gay actors list – Legen, wait for it, dary. Legendary.
Neil Patrick Harris is one of the most seasoned actors of both the stage and screen. With roles ranging from Tobias Ragg in the stage production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to nine seasons as Barney Stinson on CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, there seems to be no role he can’t pull off. His Tony Award, five Primetime Emmy Awards, and Grammy Award and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations prove that. And who can forget Doogie Howser, M.D.?
Harris and his husband, David Burtka, whom he has been with since 2004 and married a decade later, have two children, twins born via surrogate, in 2010.
2. Ian McKellen
“You shall not pass” on to the next entry until taking a minute to read about arguably the most recognizable entry on our most famous gay actors list, Sir Ian McKellan. While McKellan is best known for bringing J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved wizard, Gandalf the Grey, turned Gandalf the White, in both the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies, to life, his numerous awards, including being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1991, prove his range and contribution to the world of arts.
McKellan came out as gay in 1988, although he was in two long-term relationships, Brian Taylor (1964-1972) and Sean Mathias (1978-1988), before the announcement.
“For me, coming out was an absolute revelation,” McKellan once told the Daily Mail.
3. Josh Thomas
Josh Thomas, who came to fame in 2005 after he won the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Raw Comedy Competition, is best known for creating, co-writing, and starring in the ABC 2 and Pivot series Please Like Me.
Thomas is openly gay and has even had a “How to Be Gay” podcast, which was his “coming out of the closet” moment at age 19. While he said it was difficult for him to come out, now, he says, “Being queer for me these days is so frothy and cute and fun – it’s just dancing and kissing. And I’ve kind of forgotten what was hard about it when I was young.”
4. Jim Parsons
Bazinga! We all know Jim Parsons best as the lovable albeit often annoying genius, Sheldon Cooper, on the hit CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory (2007-2019), for which he’s won four Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award.
Parsons was first revealed as gay in May 2012, when The New York Times noted the fact in an article, which also stated that he had been in a relationship for the last decade. Parsons is married to art director Tod Spiewak, whom he married in May 2017. According to Parsons, their relationship is “an act of love, coffee in the morning, going to work, washing the clothes, taking the dogs out – a regular life, boring love.”
5. Luke Evans
Luke Evans is arguably one of the most handsome movie actors today, and that’s certainly lucky for the guys out there. The actor, best known for starring in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, Fast & Furious 6, and the live-action Beauty and the Beast, is openly gay but keeps his personal life private.
“Talent, success, what you do in your personal life – I don’t see how one should have an effect on the other,” he has been noted as saying.
The only public relationship he’s been known to be in was with actor and model Jon Korajarena between 2014 and 2016.
6. Zachary Quinto
He’s brought life to Spock in the Star Trek films and Skylar in Heroes. Zachary Quinto has flawlessly graced the small screen for more than two decades. He made his first notable guest appearances on hit shows like CSI, Lizzie McGuire, and Touched by an Angel.
Quinto publicly came out in October 2011 in response to the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, a gay teenager. After news broke, Quinto said he felt that “living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality.”
7. Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey is one of the most famous gay actors on our list who waited the longest before coming out as gay, having been 58 at the time. His actions weren’t seen as noble and brave like others on our list.
The actor, best known for his roles in The Usual Suspects and American Beauty, and, more recently, Netflix’s House of Cards, came out as gay amid sexual misconduct allegations brought against him in 2017. Spacey framed it around an apology to actor Anthony Rapp, whom he reportedly misbehaved with more than 30 years prior.
He ended his apology, saying Rapp’s story “encouraged me to address other things about my life. … As those closest to me know, in my life, I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man.”
8. BD Wong
Tony-award-winning actor Bradley (BD) Wong made history with his performance as Song Liling in M. Butterfly. His performance led to him being the only actor in the history of Broadway to earn a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Theatre World Award, and a Clarence Derwent Award for the same role.
Wong has been openly gay for many years and was in a long-term relationship with Richie Jackson, a talent agent, from 1988 to 2004. The pair had twin sons, Boaz Dov and Jackson Foo Wong, via a surrogate in 2000, although it ended in tragedy when the former passed away only 90 minutes after the birth.
His other son openly came out as gay when he was 15.
Wong is currently married to Richert John Frederickson Schnorr.
9. George Takei
Is there a theme among our most famous gay actors list regarding the Star Trek universe? George Takei seems to make it seem so. Known for being the face of the USS Enterprise, Hikaru Sulu, he revealed that he was gay in 2005 after Arnold Schwarzenegger, then-governor of California, vetoed a same-sex marriage legislation.
“It’s not really coming out, which suggests opening a door and stepping through,” said Takei, who has maintained his relationship with long-time partner Brad Altman for decades. “It’s more like a long, long walk through what began as a narrow corridor that starts to widen.”
He later said in an interview with Howard Stern, “[We (gay people)] are masculine, we are feminine, we are caring, we are abusive. We are just like straight people in terms of our outward appearance and our behavior. The only difference is that we are oriented to people of our own gender.”
10. Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Jesse Tyler Ferguson may have been one of two actors who played a gay character on the hit sitcom Modern Family, but he was the only one who could bring real-life experience to the role.
Ferguson had a long journey coming out, having to tell his father three times before it sunk in. “It’s a coming out process for them as well, and it takes time.”
Ferguson married Justin Mikita, a lawyer, on July 20, 2013, and welcomed their children, Beckette Mercer Ferguson-Mikita and Sullivan Louis Ferguson-Mikita in 2020 and 2022, respectively.
11. Sean Hayes
Sean Hayes first stole hearts as Jack McFarland on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace, winning a Primetime Emmy Award and four Screen Actors Guild Awards for his work. Since then, he has taken on Hollywood behind the scenes with his company, Hazy Mills Production, which has produced shows like Hot in Cleveland, Hollywood Game Night, and Grimm.
It took many years for Hayes to feel comfortable coming out as gay, but seemed to confirm it in an interview with The Advocate in 2010. “Really? You’re gonna shoot the gay guy down? I never have had a problem saying who I am. I am who I am.” He later added that he believes he has “contributed monumentally to the success of the gay movement in American, and if anyone wants to argue that, I’m open to it.”
In 2014, Hayes married his partner of eight years, Scott Icenogle.
12. Victor Garber
Victor Garber is a true master of the stage and screen. He’s best known for originating roles in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Lend Me a Tenor, Art, and more on Broadway, and being part of critically acclaimed movies like Titanic, Milk, and Argo.
While he did publicly come out as gay in 2012, he has said, “I don’t really talk about it, but everybody knows.” He married his long-term partner, Rainer Andreesen, a Canadian model and artist, in October 2015.
13. Matt Bomer
Matt Bomer first won our hearts, making his television debut on All My Children, and he has since landed recognition for his recurring role in NBC’s Chuck and USA Network’s White Collar.
Bomer and his husband, publicist Simon Halls, whom he married in 2011, have three children, all born via surrogate, including Kit Bomer Halls and twins Walker and Henry Bomer Halls.
Bome and Halls were married in a small New York City ceremony. “It was very chill and very small -just our closest and dear ones. There is a security, a validity. It’s just a feeling, I think, something about saying vows in front of the people around you who love and support you. I think it was good for our family.”
14. Rupert Everett
Rupert Everett, best known for his roles in Another Country, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and An Ideal Husband, all three of which have earned him various award nominations, is one of the few entries on our most famous gay actors list who seems to regret making his sexual orientation known to the world.
“It’s not that advisable, to be honest. It’s not very easy. And, honestly, I would not advise any actor, necessarily, if he was really thinking of his career, to come out,” he has been quoted as saying. “The fact is that you could not be, and still cannot be, a 25-year-old homosexual trying to make it. … It just doesn’t work, and you’re going to hit a brick wall at some point.”
15. Billy Eichner
Without Billy Eichner, the world might have been deprived of the Funny or Die comedy game show Billy on the Street, and we’re so glad that wasn’t the case as it’s one of our favorite truTV shows.
The Parks and Recreation and Bros actor has always been open about being gay, becoming the first to write in star in a major studio movie regarding the latter.
“I’m honored that it’s me, but it should have been someone else 30 or 40 years ago,” Eichner said. “I hear people talking about diversity and inclusion, but I often see gay people left out of those conversations. The comedy community, which has always been such a straight man’s game, has not been kind to openly gay men.”
16. Cheyenne Jackson
Cheyenne Jackson has found himself at home on the Broadway stage and on film while also bringing life to his own singing career. Jackson is best known for starring in such stage productions as All Shook Up (2005), Xanadu (2007), and, most recently, Into the Woods (2022).
Jackson is openly gay. His first husband was physicist Monte Lapka, whom he began dating in 2000. The pair were married from 2011 until 2013. Not long after filing for divorce, Jackson began seeing actor Jason Landau. They were married less than a year later in Encino, California, and welcomed their twins, Willow and Ethan, in October 2016.
17. Guillermo Diaz
Guillermo Diaz has been known for many roles throughout his career. The most notable, however, is his performance as Diego “Huck” Muñoz on the hit drama series Scandal.
Diaz has not been shy about the arduous journey of his sexuality, telling Out magazine in 2011 that he had a rough New York City upbringing because of it. He does credit the time as part of what made him a better actor.
“I went to school in the Bronx. I learned to constantly try to cover up the fact that I was gay,” Diaz said. “That façade of being somebody I’m really not just to protect myself definitely helped with acting.”
Two years later, the magazine listed Diaz as one of its 100 most influential gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people.
18. Colton Haynes
Colton Haynes, best known for his roles as Jackson Whittemore on MTV’s Teen Wolf and Roy Harper/Arsenal on the CW’s Arrow, took many years to confirm his sexual orientation fully.
While many speculated about it for years, he didn’t formally come out until May 2016 in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “It took me so long to get to this point, but I’m doing so good. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and healthier than I’ve ever been, and that’s what I care about,” Haynes said.
Haynes was briefly married to celebrity florist Jeff Leatham from October 2017 until August 2019.
19. Richard Chamberlain
Richard Chamberlain is one of the oldest entries on our most famous gay actors list, but he’s still just as well-known today for his teen idol persona on the classic series Dr. Kildare and later for his originating performance as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity 1988 television film.
Considering the times, it doesn’t surprise us that Chamberlain was extremely quiet about his sexuality for most of his career. While he was eventually revealed by Nous Deux, a French women’s magazine, in 1989, Chamberlain wouldn’t confirm it until he released his autobiography Shattered Love: A Memoir in 2003.
20. Harvey Fierstein
Some actors are just as known for their certain physical traits as they are for their roles in television and film, and Harvey Fierstein is a perfect example. Most often recognized for his “distinctive gravelly voice,” Fierstein has held roles in Mrs. Doubtfire, Independence Day, and as the voice of Yao in Disney’s Mulan I and II, as well as prominent theater roles in the Torch Song Trilogy and Hairspray.
Fierstein is not quiet about his sexuality and was in a long-term relationship with Ted Casablanca, a journalist, from 1987 to 1992. Just last year, in February 2022, he even alluded to his feeling that he was transgender. “I’m still confused as to whether I’m a man or a woman. When I was a kid, I was attracted to men. I didn’t feel like a boy was supposed to feel. Then I found out about gay. So that was enough for me for then.”
21. Rock Hudson
Although Rock Hudson passed away in 1985, he’s still worthy of being on our most famous gay actors list, thanks to his prominent status in the Golden Age of Hollywood. He’s best known for his roles in 1954’s Magnificent Obsession, 1955’s All That Heaven Allows, and 1956’s Giant.
While Hudson was quiet about his love life due to the times, several of his fellow actors and friends knew that he was gay and kept the secret quiet. These included such stars as Julie Andrews, Mia Farrow, Audrey Hepburn, and Carol Burnett. There are many rumors surrounding his sexual orientation, the biggest that he married Jim Nabors in the early 1970s, although same-sex marriage was not legal at the time.
22. Wilson Cruz
Wilson Cruz is one of many famous gay actors on our list who has used his own experiences to become an advocate for youth like him. With an Afro-Puerto Rican ancestry, the My So-Called Life and Star Trek: Discovery actor is particularly vocal as an advocate for gay minorities.
His most notable contributions to the LGBT community include serving as a volunteer host of the online gay youth community’s Youth Zone and as a keynote speaker at the 2008 University of Illinois at Chicago’s Lavender Graduation and Rainbow Banquet. He was also the grand marshal of the 1998 West Hollywood Gay Pride Parade, the 2005 Chicago Pride Parade, and the 2019 Fierté Montréal Pride Parade in Québec.
23. Dan Levy
Dan Levy, son of Eugene Levy and co-creator star of the hit CBS sitcom Schitt’s Creek, has been out since he was 18. He publicly acknowledged it in 2020 during an interview with Andy Cohen.
Levy’s story of coming out is an interesting one as it proves that parents know their children best. Although it took him until he was 18 to come out, it was actually Eugene Levy and Deborah Divine who approached their son. “We knew for the longest time,” Eugene Levy once said. “We were waiting, and then Mom couldn’t wait any longer.”
24. Andrew Rannells
We can’t think of the hit Broadway musical The Book of Mormon without thinking of Andrew Rannells, considering he first brought the role of Elder Kevin Price to life. Then, when he showed his flawless jump from stage to screen in shows like The New Normal and Girls, it was clear he had much to offer the acting community.
Rannells has said that he first realized he was gay in high school and later came out to his parents when he was 18, but “by that point, no one was surprised,” he said.
Rannells has been dating fellow actor Tuc Watkins since 2019, the two having met during a production of Broadway’s The Boys in the Band.
25. Brandon Flynn
When 13 Reasons Why dropped on Netflix in 2017, Brandon Flynn became a household name. Suddenly, everyone was talking about his performance as Justin Foley, and he’s still considered one of the most dynamic and complex characters, thanks to Flynn’s portrayal.
Flynn has been openly gay for many years, having come out when he was only 14, although he has said that it was a beautiful yet “really hard and scary time,” according to an interview with Today. “It was hard. There (are) a lot of moments I remember. A lot of it had pain to it, and a lot of it had beauty to it.”
Just like our friends Dan Levy and Andrew Rannells, RuPaul is another entry on our most famous gay actors list whose coming out didn’t come as much of a shock. Best known for producing, hosting, and judging the reality competition RuPaul’s Drag Race, this drag queen has been openly gay for several decades.
While RuPaul has been married to painter Georges LeBar since 2017 after 13 years of dating, they have an open marriage.
27. Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin is a Latin spitfire in both music and acting. Along with his successful career in Latin pop, dance, reggae, and salsa, Martin is also a successful theater actor, most notably portraying Marius Pontmercy in the 1996 Broadway production of Les Misérables.
While in his early life, Martin was seen as being bi-sexual, considering he had relationships with men and women, he publicly came out as gay in March 2010. “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am,” he posted to his website.
Martin married painter Jwan Yosef in late 2017, but the pair announced their separation earlier this year.
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28. Noah Galvin
Noah Galvin is one of the youngest entries on our most famous gay actors list, with starring roles as Dr. Asher Wolke in the hit series The Good Doctor, Kenny O’Neal in The Real O’Neals, and most recently taking over the title role in the Broadway music Dear Evan Hansen.
Like Brandon Flynn, Galvin also came out when he was 14. He is currently engaged to actor and singer Ben Platt, who previously held the role of Evan Hansen.
29. Benjamin Platt
Speaking of Ben Platt, he rose to prominence for originating the title role in Dear Evan Hansen, eventually becoming the youngest recipient of the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his performance. He has also appeared in numerous films and television series, most notably the Pitch Perfect series and the Netflix series The Politician.
Like his current fiancé, Noah Galvin, Platt also came out at a young age, telling his family that he was gay when he was just 13 years old after going on an eighth-grade trip to Israel when a kid in his class outed him in front of a chaperone. That led to him calling his mom to tell her, to which she replied, “You spent most of your childhood dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. No one is surprised.”
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30. Lance Bass
It’s right there in his last name (even if it is pronounced differently). Lance Bass stole our hearts as the hunky bass singer for the famed boy band NSYNC. That success catapulted him into acting, taking on starring roles in On the Line in 2001 and appearing in other projects in the years since.
Bass was the highlight of the July 2006 issue of People magazine, as his coming out as gay was the cover story for the month. “The thing is, I’m not ashamed – that’s the one thing I want to say,” he said in the interview. “I don’t think it’s wrong. I’m not devastated going through this. I’m more liberated and happy than I’ve ever been [in] my whole life. I’m just happy.”
31. Noah Schnapp
Noah Schnapp gets the trophy for being the youngest person to appear on our most famous gay actors list. Known for voicing Charlie Brown in The Peanuts Movie and his portrayal of Will Byers in Stranger Things, Schnapp is also one of the more recent famous gay actors to come out.
He came out in a TikTok video on January 5, 2023. “When I finally told my friends and family I was gay after being scared in the closet for 18 years, and all they said was ‘We Know,” he posted in the video.
32. Murray Bartlett
Known for his roles in Looking, Tales of the City, and The White Lotus, Murray Bartlett has been out of the closet for much of his career.
He later stated in 2021, “I didn’t feel like I really had an alternative. I just never felt I could ever be anything but myself.”
Bartlett is in a long-term relationship with his partner Matt, whom he lives with in Provincetown, Massachusetts.
34. Troye Sivan
Troye Sivan is just as well known for his singing as he is for his acting, thanks to singles like “Happy Little Pill” and “Youth” and roles in films like X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the Spud film series.
While Sivan came out to his family in 2010, it would be another three years before he’d come out publicly, which he did on YouTube on August 7, 2013. His decision to come out was partly due to negotiations with EMI Australia, and he did not want it to be a secret from them. “I was about to sign my record deal, and I really wanted to be in charge of how I came out,” he told People. “I didn’t want anyone to take that away from me.”
35. Keiynan Lonsdale
Keiynan Lonsdale, best known for his work in Dance Academy, The Flash, and Love, Simon, started his journey as a bisexual, stating on Instagram in 2017, “I like girls, and I like guys.”
Five years later, during an interview with BuzzFeed, he formally came out as gay. He said his final push to come out was thanks to his role in Love, Simon, in which he played one-half of a gay couple.
“Part of me was disappointed in myself because I was in this film and celebrating this moment, and I wasn’t even championing it for myself,” he said. “I’m playing this love story between a man and a man, and everyone is here because they want to honor this beautiful truth. And here I am, still afraid. I’m still not comfortable enough.”
36. Luke Macfarlane
He’s the heartthrob on many of your favorite Hallmark Channel romantic films, but he’s also shown his dramatic side on series like Brothers & Sisters and Killjoys. Luke Macfarlane came out as gay on April 15, 2008, during an interview with The Globe and Mail.
“I don’t know what will happen professionally, but I guess I can’t be concerned about what will happen because it’s my truth,” he said at the time.
Mcfarlane has been in a long-term relationship with Hig Roberts, an alpine skier. They welcomed their first child, Tess Elanor Macfarlane, on June 4, 2023.
37. Max Jenkins
With appearances on The Mysteries of Laura and High Maintenance, Max Jenkins is undoubtedly a recognizable face on the Hollywood scene.
He isn’t afraid to let people know who he is, either. Jenkins is one of the famous gay actors on our list who will take any opportunity to embrace his gay status.
38. Chris Colfer
We will always know Chris Colfer as the lovable Kurt Hummel on the television musical series Glee. It seems he did as many actors do, drawing on personal life experiences to bring real emotion to the character.
In December 2009, just as Glee was becoming a big hit, he confirmed he was gay during an interview with Chelsea Handler. He does like to keep his personal light private, telling USA Today, “I try to keep up a mystery. As much as I give away of my personal life, the less people will believe me as other characters. I try to be private about it.”
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39. Scott Evans
When you talk soap operas, it’s clear that you’ll get some good-looking faces. Such is the case for Chris Evans’ younger brother, Scott Evans, who is best known for playing Oliver Fish on One Life to Live. Most recently, he was also one of many Kens on the box office hit Barbie.
Evans came out as gay to his family when he was 19, but it wasn’t his intention to go public. Chris Evans took care of that. “Yes, I do have a gay brother. I’m down with the gays. Mostly, I’m hanging out with him and his gay buddies, who are [expletive] hilarious. They’re the funniest people I know,” the Fantastic Four actor told The Advocate in 2019.
40. Charlie Carver
From Desperate Housewives to Teen Wolf and Leftovers to The Boys in the Band, Charlie Carver is known for several different roles.
Carver took the plunge, coming out as gay via Instagram in January 2016. The five-part post included the same graphic that read, “Be who you needed when you were younger.”
“I now believe that by omitting this part of myself from the record, I am complicit in perpetuating the suffering, fear, and shame cast upon so many in the world,” part of Carver’s message read.
41. Andy Cohen
While Andy Cohen isn’t exactly a famous gay “actor” to most, although he’s held some roles, he is still one of the famous gays in the business. This is thanks to his work as host of The Real Housewives, his gig on the late-night talk show Watch What Happens Live! and his Sirius XM Radio channel.
He is the first late-night talk show host to come out as openly gay, and he’s taken his future into his own hands. While it’s believed that he does not have a partner, he does have two children born via surrogate – Ben (February 4, 2019) and Lucy (April 29, 2022).
42. Michael Urie
We all know him as Marc St. James on the hit ABC comedy Ugly Betty, but Michael Urie has one of the more complex takes of those on our most famous gay actors list.
While he has claimed to be “a member of the LGBT community” on his website, he has only referred to himself as “queer.” In a 2010 interview with The Advocate, “I’ve never said I was straight, and I’m not saying I’m gay now. I’ve never shied away from the topic. I’ve certainly chosen through my work to do things that promote the rights of LGBTQ people.”
43. Conrad Ricamora
While Conrad Ricamora has held plenty of roles over the years, he makes the most famous gay actors list thanks to his work on the drama series How to Get Away with Murder as Oliver Hampton.
Ricamora married his long-time partner, Peter Wesley Jensen, in July 2023. He captioned the picture of him and Jensen hugging, “happily hyphenated. introducing the Ricamora-Jensens. lots of great things happened these past few weeks, but this is the highlight of my life [sic].”
44. Chris Salvatore
Chris Salvatore is not just an openly gay man, but he is one of those famous gay actors who is a prominent activist for gay rights.
The Eating Out actor is a supporter of the anti-bullying charity Gay American Heroes Foundation and has also released multiple video messages for the It Gets Better Project.
45. Jonathan Bailey
Jonathan Bailey is one of the most famous English actors on both the stage and screen today, with even a Laurence Olivier Award under his belt. Known for his versatility in roles like Herod in The Young Messiah, Lord Anthony Bridgerton on Bridgerton, and Edgar in King Lear, Bailey publicly came out as gay in 2018.
While he maintained that it’s a personal matter, he said it “becomes a commodity and a currency” and “if I can fill spaces that I didn’t have growing up then I feel like that’s a really brilliant thing [and] something I’ll always strive to do.”
46. Randy Harrison
Considering he is best known for his role as Justin Taylor on Queer as Folk, we have to admit; it didn’t surprise us when we found out Randy Harrison was gay.
When he did come out, he said, “I just don’t think that I could be the kind of actor I want to be and not be honest with myself. Honesty is very important to me as an actor and as a person. I didn’t even think about it.”
While Harrison is currently single, he was previously in a relationship with Simon Dumenco, a columnist with Advertising Age, from 2002 to 2008.
47. Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman
Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman has held multiple notable roles throughout his career. Still, he’s best known for portraying Jay in Unreal, a dark comedy-drama series on Lifetime, and as a main judge for season one of Canada’s Drag Race.
Bowyer-Chapman came out as gay during a 2016 interview when it was revealed his character on Unreal would be coming out as gay for the second season. “They told me they’d be rewriting my character. They wanted him to reflect more of who I am. That was a dream come true. I’ve strived since childhood to create thoughtful, realistic depictions of gay people in TV and film.”
48. Maulik Pancholy
Killing every role he takes on, whether it’s Jonathan on 30 Rock, Sanjay Patel on Weeds, or voicing Baljeet Tjinder on Phineas and Ferb, Maulik Pancholy is clearly a seasoned actor. He’s also, however, a proud gay man who is bringing inspiration to young boys like him.
He’s mostly doing that by releasing novels, including The Best at It, about a gay Indian American boy, and Nikhil Out Loud, about theater kids in eighth grade rising against homophobia. The latter earned him a 2023 Lambda Literary Award for Middle Grade Literature.
Pancholy married his partner of nine years, Ryan Corvaia, a chef and caterer, in September 2014.
49. John Early
John Early, known for his roles on 30 Rock and Fort Tilden, as well as his recent role on Search Party, first realized he was gay when he was 13.
Ever since he has more and more been seen as one of the most vocal and often narcissistic famous gay actors in the industry.
50. Joel Kim Booster
Joel Kim Booster is one actor and comedian who has never been afraid to talk about being gay, even using it as material for his stand-up comedy act.
The Fire Island star has even stated that he knew he was gay before he knew he was Asian. He told The San Diego Union-Tribune, “I try not to focus on the day-to-day, but let’s face it, Asian men are treated differently than white men, gay men are treated differently than straight men and Asian gay men are treated differently as well. There are many different ways to exist when you’re at this intersection, but I’m proud of who I am, and I don’t plan on changing for anybody.”
51. Lukas Gage
Lukas Gage, best known for appearing in American Vandal, Euphoria, The White Lotus, and You, is, unfortunately, one of the few on our famous gay actors list who didn’t really get to come out on his own terms, saying recently that he felt pressured to identify himself publicly.
Much of the criticism came when he was taking on various LGBTQ roles and yet wouldn’t come out publicly. “Let me do it when I’m ready. And it’s acting. I feel like everyone should get the opportunity to play whatever they want.”
Gage is proudly out now, recently marrying his partner, hairstylist Chris Appleton, earlier this year.
52. Matt Dallas
There’s no Kyle XY without Matt Dallas, and we’re glad for it.
It took many years for Dallas to be comfortable revealing his sexuality, denying claims that he was gay for years, even going so far as to name women he was sexually attracted to in Hollywood. By 2015, however, he was out for good, marrying musician Blue Hamilton. In December of that year, the pair adopted a 2-year-old boy named Crow. In 2022, they expanded their family after adopting their daughter, Rosa.
53. Ben Whishaw
Ben Whishaw has done it all, from being the latest Q in the James Bond films to voicing Paddington Bear in both the films and television series and making a name for himself among the Shakespeare community with titles roles in Hamlet and Richard II.
While Whishaw publicly discussed his being gay in 2014, he has remained relatively quiet about the matter over the years. “For me, it’s important to keep a level of anonymity. As an actor, your job is to persuade people that you’re someone else. So, if you’re constantly telling people about yourself, I think you’re shooting yourself in the foot.”
Whishaw maintained a long-term relationship with composer Mark Bradshaw from 2012 to 2022.
54. Bowen Yang
Bowen Yang, a writer turned Saturday Night Live cast member, made history as only the third gay cast member on the long-running sketch-comedy series.
Yang knows how to play a practical joke on his fans. As a long-time openly gay man, fans were rightfully confused when he posted a photo alongside Ego Nwodim in February 2021 with the caption: “announcement: i’m straight now. This is my girlfriend [sic].” It seems he was pulling an April Fools Joke a couple of months early.
55. Richard Deacon
Richard Deacon, best known for his supporting roles on classic sitcoms like The Dick Van Dyke Show and Leave It to Beaver, was, unfortunately, one of the famous gay actors who had to keep his truth a secret thanks to the less accepting times.
According to writers David L. Smith and Sean Griffin, Deacon “was among a number of actors and actresses who were closeted homosexuals.”
56. Van Johnson
While Van Johnson’s gay status was never fully confirmed, his former wife, stage actress Eve Abbott, alluded to the fact in a statement published after her 2004 death. The statement said that her marriage to the Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo actor was a ploy to allegedly cover up his homosexuality.
“[MGM] needed their ‘big star’ to be married to quell rumors about his sexual preferences, and unfortunately, I was ‘It’ – the only woman he would marry,” the statement said.
57. John Megna
Classic film actor John Megna, best known for his role as Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird starring Gregory Peck, was one of the few actors in the 60s and 70s who was openly gay.
Sadly, he died from complications related to AIDs on September 5, 1995.
58. Leslie Jordan
To round out our list of the most famous gay actors, we had to pay tribute to one of the best, both in talent and pure golden heart.
Leslie Jordan was one of the most lovable figures in Hollywood, bringing about such character favorites as Beverly Leslie on Will & Grace, Sid on The Cool Kids, and, up until his untimely death in 2022, Phil on Call Me Kat.
Jordan was a major advocate for gays, participating in AIDS Project Los Angeles, and was never not proud of who he was. “I firmly believe that God made me this way. I’m not a mistake.”
59. T.R. Knight
Back in 2005, when Grey’s Anatomy first premiered, the world was introduced to many actors who would soon bring our new favorite characters to life. T.R. Knight was arguably the most beloved as Dr. George O’Malley, who sadly became the first of many characters we’d have to say goodbye to over the course of the series.
It was during his time on the long-running drama that Knight came out as gay. He and his husband, Patrick B. Leahy, a ballet dancer and writer, recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary.
“Ten years ago yesterday, I got married to this extraordinary man,” Knight posted on Instagram. “Never dreamed this could happen in my lifetime. We hold close to our hearts all those that never had – nor will have – this right.”
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