When Matt Bomer came out as gay in 2012, there was no indication as to how his career would fare.
During GLAAD’s virtual Pride event this year, Billy Eichner spoke with Bomer and asked him about his decision to come out “before that was the acceptable thing to do.”
Bomer told him,
“It was a risky thing to do at the time. Magic Mike was about to come out, [which] was largely built on sex appeal and I was a romantic lead on television. To me, I had to weigh out my personal life, which was the fact that I was soon-to-be a husband, we had three children, and I wanted to be able to look them in the eye with love and sincerity. Truth and honesty was ultimately more important to me than what was going to cost me my career.”
This was something that Bomer reiterated in an interview with Gay Vegas back in 2015, just a few years after coming out. He said,
“I think one thing that people don’t always take into consideration is a holistic aspect of what may or may not be going on in that individual’s life – you know, what kind of relationship they have with their family, how the people around them feel about it.”
“But for me, having kids and being married, it was important to maintain the integrity of those relationships and not teach my kids that this is a shameful secret and that my husband (Simon Halls) has to be waiting in the wings all the time.”
Bomer officially came out at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards in 2012 where he received the New Generation Arts and Activism Award. During his acceptance speech, he thanked his partner and their three children for “teaching me what unconditional love is.”
The decision to come out is ultimately a very personal one, and every individual should be left to their own devices to determine how they feel comfortable doing it and when. No one should feel pressured to reveal their sexuality, but it’s likely that Bomer felt compelled to conceal that he gay, for reasons that could greatly influence his career negatively. But what was more important to him was his children, and being able to live a normal life with his family. The life and the opinions he cared about most were those of the ones he loved.
Thankfully for Matt Bomer, coming out didn’t blacklist or pigeonhole him in Hollywood (other than a few whispered rumors about losing the role of Superman). In fact, the wealth and diversity of his projects blossomed. He decided to live his truth, and his life has been better for it. It’s an uplifting example of being able to persevere without having compromise your values or personal beliefs, and a model many of us could stand to follow.