They say the best actors are the ones who are capable of stepping out of their comfort zone and creating convincing characters that are their total opposites. But Hollywood is the land of pretend. Many homosexual actors don’t mind to be cast as straight characters. After all, if it pays the bills, they’d play a Grizzly bear.
We are about to present you eight gay actors who took “playing it straight” to the ultimate next level. They have stepped up to deliver the best possible performance. From Neil Patrick Harris and Jodie Foster to Wentworth Miller and Cynthia Nixon, these professionals challenged the stereotypes and won the hearts of millions of fans.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, however, there are some gay actors and actresses whose performance hasn’t turned out to be convincing enough for the audience to believe their characters are straight. In any case, it’s fun to put up a list of both types, and see who faked for an A+, and who failed.
Check out our list of eight gay actors who had strikingly good straight performances, and seven others who couldn’t fool anyone, and see if you agree with us.
15 Perfect - Wentworth Miller (Prison Break)
The actor who, with his performance as brooding jailbird Michael Scofield in Prison Break, made women from all over the world dream about being in his strong, tattooed arms came out as gay in August 2013. He did it by writing an open letter to the organizers of the St. Petersburg International Film Festival declining their invitation. He simply couldn’t participate in an event hosted by a country where people “like himself” are being denied their basic right to live and love openly.
When asked if he felt like he was lying to fans about his sexuality, Miller said, “My face was on billboards, and I thought it was my job to act a certain way. The people onscreen aren't the characters they're playing. They’re our projection of who we want them to be. I think it's possible to have a man-crush if you're not gay or to have a crush on a guy you know to be gay if you're a woman. But I think audiences knew to a certain degree about me.”
No, man, we certainly DID NOT! Good job!
14 Terrible - Ellen Page (Juno)
She had her breakthrough role at the age of 20, when she played an independent pregnant teenager in Juno (2007). Page won herself an Oscar nomination for her performance. We also know her as the busty superhero Kitty Pride in the X-Men series, the roller derby player from Whip It (2009), and the talented student of architecture Ariadne from Inception (2010). But in none of those artistic transformations could the young actress camouflage her boyish attitude and bring a more feminine flavor to her heroines. Page came out as a lesbian in 2014, when she delivered a very powerful speech at a youth event for the Human Rights Campaign. She said, “I’m here today because I’m gay. And because maybe I can make a difference, to help others have an easier and more hopeful time.”
13 Perfect - Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story)
We can understand why Sarah Paulson hates to be labeled a lesbian – she looks anything but the stereotypical lesbian! The 43-year-old actress has become a household icon thanks to her multi-faceted performance in the hit series American Horror Story. She played a lesbian character one season, but her roles in the rest of the seasons are strictly (and 100% convincingly!) heterosexual. In March 2016, Paulson confirmed her relationship with the 74-year-old Holland Taylor, mostly known for her role as Evelyn, Uncle Charlie’s and Alan’s eccentric mother, on the hit sitcom Two and a Half Men. Paulson admits she’s always been interested in older people. “There’s a poignancy to being with someone older, “ says she, and adds, “What I can say is that I am in love, and Holland Taylor is probably the most exquisitely beautiful woman I’d ever seen.”
12 Terrible - Ricky Martin (All His Music Videos)
From 1994 to 1996, the already famous, super sexy Latino singer played in General Hospital. His straight character was called Miguel Morez, formally engaged to Lily Rivera, with whom he had a child. Back then it wasn’t yet that fashionable for gay male artists to come out of the closet, so they’d rather enjoy the love and worship of the female audience forever. But there was always something rotten about Ricky, the womanizer. His sensual hip dancing, his mild facial features and perfectly groomed head and body provided him with an insanely large gay following. In 2008, he became the father of twin boys born by a surrogate mother. Two years later, he publicly announced his homosexuality on his personal website. Last year, Martin clarified he is attracted to both men and women, but is only interested in romantic relationships with men, so no, he is NOT bisexual. Sorry, ladies!
11 Perfect - Victor Garber (Various Films)
Though he played straight roles in Sleepless in Seattle (1993), Legally Blonde (2001), and Alias (2001-2006), the 68-year-old Victor Garber has been open about his homosexuality since 2012. Three years later, he married his longtime boyfriend, Canadian artist and model Rainer Andreesen. To many, his wedding came as a surprise. Upon seeing his face, movie-goers would instantly remember him in the role of Reese Witherspoon’s horny law professor in Legally Blonde, who took advantage of his position in the legal firm in order to persuade her to sleep with him. And let’s not forget that Garber also played … Jesus, although it happened back in 1973, in Godspell, the musical. The Canadian actor also starred as Thomas Andrew, builder of Titanic.
10 Terrible - T.R. Knight (Grey’s Anatomy)
Openly gay actor T.R. Knight played the straight Dr. George O’Malley on the hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. With not much success, we would add.
In 2009, the actor, who emerged as one of the show’s breakthrough stars, made the surprising decision to leave the show. The incident that pulled the trigger to a series of events became known as “Isaiahgate.” His co-worker Isaiah Washington referred to Knight as ‘f**got’ during an on-set argument, of which the tabloids caught wind, leading to Knight coming out in the press, and Washington getting fired. Almost like in a movie, only it happened for real.
In 2013, Knight married his boyfriend, Patrick Leahy. They are still childless, unlike many other famous Hollywood gay couples.
9 Perfect - Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother)
Let’s be honest here – along with Charlie Sheen’s infamous promiscuous character Uncle Charlie in Two and a Half Men, Neil Patrick Harris’ Barney Stinson has become the epitome of the ultimate womanizer in U.S. sitcom history. Barney from How I Met Your Mother uses many tricks and his ‘playbook’ to help him get laid. In later episodes of the cult sitcom, he has a few serious relationships, gets married, gets divorced, and has a child with a woman he once had a one-night stand with.
In real life, Harris is as gay as it can possibly get. In a recent interview, the 44-year-old actor and father of two revealed he realized he was gay after exchanging a friendly kiss with Burt Reynolds while they were filming together some detective drama in the late 1980s.
Currently, the charismatic actor is married to David Burtka, whom he met in 2003. The two became parents to twins in 2010.
8 Terrible - Matt Bomer (White Collar)
You simply cannot wear THAT face and be a straight guy! I mean, it’s almost against nature. We’ve seen Bomer play many straight roles in the past, one of most memorable of which was of conman Neal Caffrey in White Collar (2009 - 2014). And although he appeared alongside Channing Tatum as the smoking hot stripper Ken, his character was also straight. But through all those years of acting and pretending, he couldn’t fool anybody. And instead of learning his lesson, his next move was even more perplexing. In The Last Tycoon, based on a F. Scott Fitzgerald’s unfinished novel, Bomer plays studio executive during the Golden Age of Hollywood. The fact that since 2011 he has been married to publicist Simon Halls, with whom he has three sons, puts forward the following, completely legitimate question: Is it really a ground-breaking idea that in 2016 they still would cast an out gay actor to play a romantic, straight leading man role?
7 Perfect - Cynthia Nixon (Sex And The City)
Although the 51-year-old Nixon has always declared herself ‘gay by choice’ (she’d been with men all her life), her character of the workaholic lawyer Miranda Hobbs is one of the four man-hunting New Yorkers featured in the cult HBO series Sex and the City. Miranda’s pregnancy leads her to marrying her boyfriend Steve, and eventually she finds the secret to the happy life in a peaceful and balanced family environment in Brooklyn. All in all, she realizes the American Dream. Whatever that means anymore!
In real life, though, Cynthia Nixon is far from her fictional character. In 2004, she began dating educational activist Christine Marinoni. They married in NYC in May, 2012. From her previous relationship with schoolteacher Danny Mozes, Nixon has two children - a daughter and a son.
6 Terrible - Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
No, it’s not the nerdiness, nor the lack of empathy and tolerance, neither is it the Asperger's Syndrome and the obvious asexuality that makes the audience highly doubt Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s true commitment to his girlfriend Amy. It’s simply the actor who stands behind one of the most beloved TV characters in recent years! In 2012, Jim Parsons, then 39, came out as gay in an interview with the New York Times, when he said he’d been in a relationship with another man for ten years. The actor, who is paid a whopping $1 million per episode on The Big Bang Theory, is now a married man. He exchanged vows with his long-time partner Todd Spiewak in May 2017. Parsons call their relationship “an act of love, coffee in the morning, going to work, washing the clothes, taking the dogs out—a regular life, boring love.” Yeah, and a couple of million dollars to keep you warm during the cold winter nights.
5 Perfect - Kristian Nairn (Game Of Thrones)
“I've never hidden my sexuality from anyone, my whole life in fact. I’ve been waiting for someone to ask about it in an interview, because it’s not something you just blurt out. I’ve tried to lead the question a few times, to no avail.” This is how actor Krisian Nairn, who plays the awesome character of Hodor in Game of Thrones, surprised his interviewer in March 2014. Yes, it came as kind of a shock to many when this 6’11” tall mountain of a man came out of the closet in this interview with a Game of Thrones fan site. Nairn is a Northern Irish actor. He also used to be the resident DJ of a prominent gay club in Belfast. The character he plays in the cult HBO series is a simple-minded stable-boy who is known as Hodor, because that is the only word he can pronounce.
4 Perfect - Jodie Foster (The Silence Of The Lambs)
Jodie Foster brought the Golden Globes crowd to tears with her public coming out speech in 2013. Foster made her acting debut at the age of three and has been in the public eye for some 50 years now. Nevertheless, she has always been a very private person. She’s considered one of the best actresses of her generation. And not once through her long career has she played a gay character! Her exquisite femininity radiated from her when, in 1999, she impersonated the British widow Anna Leonowens who falls for the king of Siam in Anna and the King. One of her most iconic roles, though, was as Agent Clarice in the 1991 horror-thriller movie The Silence of the Lambs.
The gay actress had two sons while partnered with Cydney Bernard, whom she met on the set of Sommersby (1993) and was in a relationship with until 2008.
Her present partner and legal wife is actress and photographer Alexandra Hedison.
3 Terrible - Jonathan D. Bennett (Mean Girls)
Aaron Samuels represents every high school girl’s crush in Mean Girls.
Back in 2014, Dancing with the Stars judge Julianne Hough thought that contestant Jonathan Bennett was hitting on her, and she wanted desperately to go on a date with him. What happened, though, is that she announced publicly on Extra, with host Mario Lopez, that it was never going to work because Bennett was gay. Bennett’s publicist declined to comment on whether or not the actor had been still hiding in the closet, but …come on, who were they fooling!? Despite the fact he was (still) not confirming his homosexuality, in 2014, he was voted number one hottest LGBT celebrity. The actor himself has never uttered a word about Julianne’s comments. Yet, nothing that’s going on in Hollywood can stay hidden for too long. It’s been reported Bennett dated Matt Dallas of KYLE XY, who came out as gay in 2013.
2 Perfect - George Takei (Star Trek)
Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu, the helmsman of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek series, has no problems talking openly about being gay. He has written a book, and is an active LGBT rights advocate. He has been in a committed relationship with his partner, Brad Altman, for more than 20 years. Despite the late disclosure, Takei’s homosexuality has been an open secret among Star Trek fans since the 1970s, and the actor, on his part, has never tried to hide his active membership in LGBT organizations. In an interview with Howard Stern in October 2005, the actor said, “We, gay people, are masculine, feminine, we are caring, we are abusive. We are just like straight people . The only difference is that we are orientated to people of our own gender.”
Takei and Altman were the first same-sex couple to be featured on The Newlywed Game TV show. They won the game, winning $10, 000 for their charity, the Japanese American National Museum.
1 Terrible - David Hyde Pierce (Frasier)
In the early 1980s, he was still a Yale graduate, just moved to New York to become a theater actor. His big breakthrough came with Frasier. His role as the slightly repressed, lovesick, and highly intellectual Dr. Niles Crane has accumulated 11 consecutive Emmy nominations and four wins. Despite his undeniable artistic talent, Pierce couldn’t convincingly disguise his true sexuality. His character was just too neurotic, too aesthetically sophisticated and too loveable to be straight!
It’s worth being noted that his last appearance was on the TV mini series When We Rise, where he plays the father of a prominent gay rights activist from the late 1960s, who has a hard time accepting his son. We watched it and we think he did a good job portraying a repressive straight father. Pierce himself has never had THE conversation with his parents. What happened was that they faced the truth only after they had met his now husband, Brian Hargrove.