Due to the shortage of gay roles, it’s understandable that many reputable gay actors find themselves typecast within straight roles. Still, for some inexplicable reason, Hollywood will usually have a straight actor play a gay character, and vice versa. Like any other thespian, gay actors take their craft very seriously, and are not the least bit offended at being typecast in straight roles. Apparently, it’s actually a preference for gay actors to land straight roles for the chance to portray just how advanced their acting ability is, as well as avoid drawing attention to their personal lives. These 14 actors who identify as gay in real life do a pretty believable job of acting straight on screen, perhaps even a tad more believable that any straight actor.
14. Jim Parsons
Star of hit TV sitcom, The Big Bang Theory, Jim Parsons plays the awkward heterosexual brainiac Sheldon Cooper, who’s in a long term relationship with Amy Fowler. The actor is no stranger to the quirky straight dude role, having played several in the past. Jim officially revealed he was in a same sex relationship in 2012, to The New York Times, noting he’d been with his art director partner, Todd Spiewack for over a decade.
13. Sarah Paulson
Talented actress, Sarah Paulson has played a heap of believable heterosexual roles throughout her career, including Mistress Epps in 12 Years A Slave, and numerous others. Most recently, she’s had the chance to stay true to herself, by playing a lesbian character in the second season of hit TV series, American Horror Story. In 2009, Sarah ended her 5 year long relationship with the much older Cherry Jones.
12. Rosie O’Donnell
Actress and comedian Rosie O’Donnell was one of the first gay celebrities to open up about her sexuality before it was publicly acceptable. She mainly played straight characters in the 90’s, including Betty Rubble in the Flinstones, and Doris in A League of Their Own, but played her first gay role in 2002 on Will & Grace, and came out of the closet within the same year. The television personality is a strong LGBT activist, as well as a same sex marriage & gay rights advocate. Since her outing and strong public persona, it’s difficult for audiences to believe her in straight roles anymore.
Former child star, Raven-Symoné recently revealed she was in a same sex relationship with an America’s Next Top Model contestant, AzMarie Livingston, but refused to be “labeled” as a lesbian, or African American for that matter. It may be safe to assume that we probably won’t see her in any lesbian roles any time soon.
10. Ellen Page
The 27 year old is the latest celebrity to officially come out of the closet, making the announcement earlier this year at a conference benefiting the LGBT community. In the deeply personal speech, Ellen states that she is “tired of hiding and tired of lying by omission.” The actress has only played straight characters throughout her career, but that could very well be set to change.
9. Victor Garber
Actor Victor Garber has played countless heterosexual roles in movies such as Sleepless in Seattle, Titanic and The First Wives Club. The longtime actor publicly acknowledged his longtime partner Rainer Andreesen, in 2012.
7. Cynthia Nixon
Cynthia Nixon played the man-eating Miranda Hobbes on Sex & The City for 8 years. Shortly after divorcing her boyfriend of 15 years with whom she had children, she shocked the world in 2012, by marrying her current wife Christine Marinoni. The actress has yet to play a lesbian role.
6. Wentworth Miller
Wentworth Miller played the straight Michael Scofield on the 4 year running series, Prison Break. The actor officially came out of the closet as recently as in 2013, after writing a letter on the GLAAD website declining to attend the Russian Film Festival due to their anti-gay laws.
5. Zachary Quinto
Zachary Quinto opened up about his sexuality in 2011, in an interview with New York magazine. The actor briefly explained that he delayed outing himself amidst speculation, for the same reason that most gay actors are encouraged to stay in the closet: to not hurt their chances of landing major roles. Preferring instead, to let his work speak for itself. The actor of 14 years has only seen himself in one gay role so far, since the onset of his career.
4. Portia de Rossi
Portia de Rossi, who today identifies as lesbian, has yet to play a lesbian role, frequently cast as straight characters, including Lindsay Bluth Funke on the hit show, Arrested Development and many others. The actress was previously married to a man for 3 years before marrying talk show host Ellen De Generes, in 2008.
3. Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris plays the heterosexual womanizer Barney Stinson, on The hit TV series How I Met Your Mother. The actor officially came out in 2006, noting that he is a proud gay man living his life to the fullest. Neil recently wed his long time love, actor David Burkta, with whom he has two adorable kids. The former child star has yet to play a gay character, and has (according to the screenwriters of Harold & Kumar) actually played a homophobic character.
2. Matt Bomer
Heart-throb Matt Bomer caught his big break as the leading hunk in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, opposite Jordana Brewster. The actor has worked regularly since 2000, and only played a homosexual character three times in his career, most recently on the hit TV show, American Horror Story. Matt has been married to his publicist husband Simon Halls for three years, and the couple have three beautiful kids together.
1. Jodie Foster
Oscar winning actress, Jodie Foster has only ever played heterosexual characters over the course of her long and fruitful career. The actress came out of the closet as recently as last year, at the age of 50, during her Golden Globes acceptance speech. During the emotional speech, she jokingly teased that she was almost as nervous about the news she was about to share as her publicist, as publicists commonly advise gay actors to keep their homosexuality private to avoid hurting their career.