Now, before you get all uptight and offended, let’s think this through for a moment. For a large portion of our population, beliefs are sturdy. Science could punch them in the face with fact and they still wouldn’t let go of their ingrained belief system. Because of this, we’re not even going to address the validity of the statement “stopped being gay.” It might seem like an awkward thing to write. Truthfully, it is. But we live in a land ruled by perception. What we believe to be true is much more important than what is actually true. Frankly, truth and fact have no say in this discussion. It might be more accurate to say that we’re focusing on actors who are no longer perceived as straight after a specific role. Maybe they played a gay character too convincingly or maybe the actor coincidentally came out after a role, there are several different scenarios. There’s really only one thing that unites all of the actors on this list. They’re all probably gay. And, even if they’re not, people think they are, and that’s what counts.
Some of you sit there, bouncing your eyes off these words under furrowed brows, thinking, why is it anyone’s business? Who the hell cares? Well, quite simply, you care. You cared enough to read this far. We care for the same reason we care about an actor’s political or religious affiliations. We care in the same way we care about an actor’s salary, their family and their past. Celebrities, with all their eccentricities and quirks, are interesting folks. We want to know everything about them and, obviously, so do you.
Even though many of the stars on this list have either denied being gay or refused to address their sexuality, the way these actors are viewed was forever changed by one role. Here are 15 actors who stopped being straight after playing a gay role.
15. Lindsay Lohan – The Canyons
Lindsay Lohan is about as committed to a defined sexuality as she is rehab. Over the years, LiLo has become the poster child for sexual fluidity. The on-again-off-again bisexual and rehabilitated addict has said she’s straight, then bi, then nothing, then everything, then confused and now “prefers to date women.” So, how can we suggest that one role changed all this when she changes it on her own so often? Like this: Lohan’s most recent role in The Canyons convinced her that she prefers women, once again. Prior to making The Canyons, Lindsay met with Piers Morgan and told the world that she was straight. “I know I’m straight,” she said. “I have made out with girls before, and I had a relationship with a girl. But I think I needed to experience that and I think I was looking for something different.” Yet, after The Canyons, in which LiLo got to encounter steamy scenes with both males and females, Lindsay’s status had changed again. A friend of hers claimed, “don’t expect Lindsay to get into a relationship with a man anytime soon. Lindsay prefers women over men.” What’s that? A friend says it? Must be true then.
14. Daniel Fanzese – Mean Girls
Daniel Franzese, the actor who played Damian in Mean Girls, was gay during that film. No one ever doubted that. He played the hell out that gay part and we all just expected that he was openly out. But he wasn’t. At least, that’s what he decided to make everyone believe. In his “letter to Damian,” Franzese described why he decided to go back into the closet for a brief period after Mean Girls. “When I first became an actor, I wanted to play lots of roles – Guidos, gangsters and goombahs were my specialty,” he said. “So, would I be able to play all of those parts after portraying a sensitive, moisturizing, Ashton Kutcher-loving, pink-shirt-wearing kid? I was optimistic. Hollywood? Not so much. I was meeting a ‘gay glass ceiling’ in casting.”
After finding himself limited, Franzese chose to hide his sexuality, pretending to be something he wasn’t. “I became celibate for a year and a half,” the actor admitted. “I didn’t go to any gay bars, have any flings and I lied to anyone who asked if I was gay. I even brought a girl to the Mean Girls premiere and kissed her on the red carpet, making her my unwitting beard.” So, if you ever asked the question: did Mean Girls out him or put him back in the closet. The answer is a bit of both.
13. Kristen Stewart – The Runaways
In case you hadn’t heard, Kristen Stewart is now openly gay. No one can say for sure when the aha! moment happened, but, what we do know, is that it definitely happened on the set of The Runaways where Stewart played Joan Jett. In the film, Stewart’s Joan Jett is about as sexually ambiguous as she always has been, but there were some lesbian or bi-sexual undertones present. Afterward, the normally shy and private Stewart proudly came out, saying she wasn’t going to hide anymore, “it changed when I started dating a girl. I was like, ‘Actually, to hide this provides the implication that I’m not down with it or I’m ashamed of it, so I had to alter how I approached being in public. It opened my life up and I’m so much happier.’”
12. Matthew Goode – A Single Man
First, actor Matthew Goode was a little gay in Brideshead Revisited. Then, he got a little gayer in Watchmen, playing the part of Ozymandias. The odd thing here is that Goode didn’t really go out of his way to play that character gay, that’s just how it came out. Finally, in A Single Man, Goode was “full gay,” in his own words. So, after three gayish roles, you would think that the actor himself is most certainly gay, but surprisingly, he’s not. He’s quite straight. He just tends to be seen in that formal, gentlemanly Victorian-gay sort of way. He’s comfortable enough in his own sexuality that he doesn’t mind acting gay or kissing other men, like Ewan McGregor, on screen.
11. Angelina Jolie – Foxfire
Way back in the mid 90s, Angelina Jolie was open about her bisexuality. It all started when she played the lesbian (though they never really said she was a lesbian) Margret in Foxfire. It was there that Jolie met Jenny Shimizu and the two started up a love affair for the ages. Well, maybe not “for the ages” but for 1996 for sure. “I fell in love with her the first second I saw her,” Jolie said. “Actually, I saw when she was being cast in Foxfire, and I thought she had just read for my part. I thought I was going to lose the job. I said to myself, ‘Oh, my God, that’s Legs.’ She’s great. We had a lot of fun.” Jolie even suggested their relationship was more than just a fling. “I probably would have married Jenny Shimizu if I hadn’t married my [first] husband.” Of course you would have Angie. You marry everyone.
10. Bella Thorne – The Babysitter
Maybe you hadn’t heard that actress Bella Thorne came out recently, via SnapChat of all mediums. Thorne was with then-boyfriend Greg Sulkin but then she wasn’t. Turns out, this new love interest is also named Bella and used to date Thorne’s brother. This announcement comes after trailers of Thorne’s new film, The Babysitter, show her and co-star Samara Weaving smacking their tongues together. Now, we’re not saying that one thing is necessarily related to the other. We’re simply putting things in front of you for you to draw your own conclusions. Oh, and Samara Weaving? That’s Hugo Weaving’s niece. Agent Smith’s niece made out with Bella Thorne.
9. Sean Hayes – Will and Grace
Sean Hayes will always be best-known for playing Jack, the flamboyantly gay neighbor to Will and Grace on Will & Grace. Everyone who ever watched Hayes on that show knew he was gay, but he never actually confirmed that until 2010, 12 years after the show had premiered. Now Hayes says that he never thought he had to come out because of who he was, nor did he ever deny his sexuality, but the fact that he apologized for taking so long to do it shows that, deep down, he felt that it was something that should have been said a while back. Why? Who knows? People feel they have the right to know what’s going on in a celebrity’s life and, if celebrities succumb to that pressure, who are we to stifle them. Still, with or without Hayes admitting that he likes men, every viewer who ever flipped over to Will & Grace but for a moment knew exactly who he was, and he was loved for that.
8. Ellen Page – Whip It
Ellen Page may have only come out recently in 2014, but she was gay well before that point. You know how we know she was gay? Because she played a roller-skater in a film called Whip It in 2009, a film about an all-woman roller derby team directed by one of the most famous bisexuals around, Drew Barrymore. Then there was the homoerotic photoshoot with Page and Barrymore jostling and playing, kissing and straddling each other. It was actually really nice. Sure, Page have been considered straight even after taking this role, but most film fans were starting to wonder.
7. Vin Diesel – The Pacifier
We don’t know when the rumors of Vin Diesel‘s gayness started, but, if we were to guess, it probably coincided with the 2005 film, The Pacifier. Not that his role in the film is particularly homoerotic, it’s just a really terrible movie with plenty of femininity, which often leads people to make assumptions about the actor playing in such a film. Now, Diesel has addressed the rumors stating that neither he, nor his live-in girlfriend are gay. But that’s not enough to ease everyone’s questions. Every month, Google gets tens of thousands of hits asking, “is Vin Diesel gay?” Maybe this is just one of those rumors that will never go away. Maybe Vin can talk to Richard Gere about how to handle such persistence from the general public.
6. Jake Gyllenhaal – Brokeback Mountain
Though he’s been consistent in denying all the gay rumors that have followed him around for the past decade, Jake Gyllenhaal will always be gay in the eyes of many viewers. This all stemmed from his role in Brokeback Mountain, a film that was loved by critics and most film fans. In that film, Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger‘s characters played gay cowboys and they were both excellent. A drawback, if you can call it that, is that by being excellent in a gay role, like Bill and Ted used to say, some people will automatically assume you are gay in real life. Well, Gyllenhaal isn’t gay, though one interview did put that in doubt. Gyllenhaal, remembering Brokeback Mountain and co-star Ledger, said, “Heath, you know, would walk up to a horse and could like silence the horse. Just literally he’d be like, ‘Shh. Shh.’ And then he’d get on the horse. I’d be like, ‘I’m going to get on you.'” This cryptic quote makes you wonder if Jake was talking to the horse or Heath, Heath or the horse.
5. Zachary Quinto – So Notorious
There’s still a good portion of people out there who are unaware that actor Zachary Quinto is gay, even though he’s been out publicly since 2010. It was then that he said, “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.” Several years before that, however, Quinto had appeared in So Notorious, Tori Spelling’s God awful show, as Sasan, Tori’s gay best friend. In that show, Quinto shared his first on-screen kiss with a man, which doesn’t mean a whole lot. We just thought you had the right to know.
4. James Dean – Rebel Without a Cause
There have always been rumors about James Dean’s sexuality. Back in his day, coming out was hardly even an option, so we will never know for sure. However, that hasn’t stopped the LGBT community from claiming Rebel Without a Cause as one of their anthems. It’s a film that is about as gay as it gets without ever coming out and saying it. Thanks to the Hays Code in Hollywood in those days, gay characters in film couldn’t be openly gay, so filmmakers had to get creative. The story goes that Dean was specifically sought out for this role because of his bisexuality—there were rumors of he and Marlon Brando getting intimate, as well as many others. After the film, no matter what the truth was, Dean was gay in the eyes of many. Even those with serious doubts were a little curious when Dean told Sal Mineo’s character (Plato): “look at me the way I look at Natalie.”
3. Tim Curry – The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Tim Curry has always been an intensely private person, so it’s no surprise that no one can say how he identifies sexually. That hasn’t stopped people from guessing. Curry, after he showed off his moves in 1975’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show, became a gay man for many fans. They said Curry was too convincing not to be gay in real life. There have been claims that the actor has said the experience opened him up to other lifestyles, but that doesn’t mean he’s ever partaken in them. Still, no wife and no kids means only one thing to most people (as sad as that my sound). Tim Curry is gay and he has been ever since he first donned the backward corset.
2. James Franco – Everything
When James Franco published a book of poems, everyone though he was gay. Not because of the poetry, you prejudiced a*s, because the book was called Straight James/Gay James. But Franco’s always played gay characters, so we can’t put our finger on just one that made everyone wonder if he’s gay. Here’s what the star had to say about his own sexuality. “There’s a bit of overfocusing on my sexuality, both by the straight press and the gay press, and so the first question is why do they care? Well, because I’m a celebrity, so I guess they care who I’m having sex with,” he said. “But if your definition of gay and straight is who I sleep with, then I guess you could say I’m a gay c*ck tease. It’s where my allegiance lies, where my sensibilities lie, how I define myself. Yeah I’m a little gay, and there’s a gay James.”
1. Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet plays the incredibly lovely Cam on Modern Family, a gay man and loving husband of Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson). Anyone who watches the show has no doubts about a few things: Phil is hilarious, Gloria is smoking hot, and Cam is gay. But guess what? He’s not gay. Still, that hasn’t even come close to stopping the rumors and the speculation. No one cared if Stonestreet was dating a real-life woman. People had seen enough of him on TV to know who he was in everyday life, even if they’re wrong. Eric is Cam and Cam is gay. It’s a little complicated, but it’s just the way things work in Hollywood.