Luke Evans never wanted to hide his sexuality from Hollywood.
In a new interview with Attitude, the Beauty and the Beast actor said he was surprised by the rumors that he, an openly gay man, was trying to go back in the closet in order to protect his career prospects.
“It was the last thing I had, because everything else I’ve given to the world. My career was public, I was photographed, and all that stuff. My personal life just became the last thing that I had, Evans explained to the outlet. “Also, what was strange was that when people did find out that I was gay, there was a lot of articles and stuff written saying that I was hiding it, and I wasn’t.”
He shared that he left his very religious home in Wales at 16 in order to search for acceptance.
“I just wanted to get online and I wanted to pick up the phone and say, ‘Do you realize I left home at 16 because I was gay?’ I went into the world as a kid, because I had to. I am proud and happy, and I’ve lived a very big life that I’m super happy with. And I’ve never been ashamed,” he added. “And now all of a sudden I was being treated in this way and it was a scary moment because I was, like, oh God, this is horrible. This is not true. None of this is true.”
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The Alienist star, who most recently dated Rafa Olarra, shared his love of the LGBTQ+ community on Instagram in honor of Pride Month in June.
In the caption of a photo the read “Choose Love,” Evans wrote, “Why would anyone choose anything else? Happy Pride Lovers!! #happypride #pride #pridemonth #chooselove.”
Evans is slated to portray his first onscreen gay character in a Hulu adaptation of Nine Perfect Strangers, which is based on Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty‘s novel of the same name. It stars Nicole Kidman as the lead guru of a possibly sinister wellness retreat.
The actor is also set to star in a Disney+ Beauty and the Beast prequel series all about his character Gaston. The TV series also stars Josh Gad as LeFou, who is a canonically gay man in the film.