Rumors, innuendo and even coy teasing have surrounded Arrow / Teen Wolf star Colton Haynes’s sexual orientation for years, the pinnacle of which was a coy response to a social media post back in January.
Now, the hunky actor shares his journey to living openly with Entertainment Weekly. Along the way, Haynes explains why it took him a while to get comfortable living in his own skin.
“I asked to step away because I cared more about my mental and physical health than my career at the time,” the actor tells EW, opening up about his personal and professional life for the first time in quite some time. “I’ve had terminal anxiety my entire life. Physically ill, fainting. I’m 27 years old, and I have an ulcer. I had to step back.”
“I should have made a comment or a statement, but I just wasn’t ready. I didn’t feel like I owed anyone anything. I think in due time, everyone has to make those decisions when they’re ready, and I wasn’t yet. But I felt like I was letting people down by not coming forward with the rest of what I should have said.” The headlines about Haynes turned vitriolic in the absence of an announcement, but he was in no place to make one: He had checked into rehab for anxiety and would be frequently back in the hospital over the next three months.
“People want you to be that GQ image that you put out, but people don’t realize what it’s like to act 24 hours a day. I’d go home and I was still acting,” he says gently. “People who are so judgmental about those who are gay or different don’t realize that acting 24 hours a day is the most exhausting thing in the world.” The truth is, Haynes has been out for most of his life – in high school, to his family and friends, to his cast members, to his Hollywood bosses (like Arrow creator Greg Berlanti, now one of his closest mentors). But as a green transplant in Hollywood in 2006, he wasn’t any more immune to the town’s well-chronicled discomfort with LGBT identity.
Though the 27-year-old has been out to his friends and family for years, he’s now ready to live openly in front of everyone.
“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.”