Many fans were undoubtedly surprised when Teen Wolf star Colton Haynes came out as gay in 2016. But it turns out the actor was out way back in high school — until his management team forced him back in the closet.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Colton revealed that he was openly gay as a teen and had even participated in a sexy photoshoot with his then-boyfriend for the magazine XY. It was a photoshoot he was quite proud of.
But when Colton moved to Hollywood hoping to break into the industry, his management team worked hard to scrub the internet of the photos. He explained,
“When I moved to L.A., I was basically told that I needed to change everything about myself. I had to learn how to be the way that I looked, which was a square-jawed douchebag, cocky athlete. But when I first started working, [the images] started popping up on blogs. My team acted almost like a firing squad.”
He recalled that his manager even said that he almost didn’t get the role of Jackson Whittemore on Teen Wolf because of the photos, which were perceived as too risqué.
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Of course, nothing on the internet ever really goes away. In January 2016, the photos resurfaced on Tumblr.
By then, he’d been working in the industry for almost 10 years and it had taken a toll on him. He had to step away from his role on Arrow to deal with issues related to anxiety and his physical health. He certainly wasn’t prepared to deal with the media storm that followed.
So when rumors started swirling that he was “secretly gay,” he merely replied, “Was it a secret?”
The media took it as his official coming out but it wasn’t until months later that the actor actually began discussing his sexuality publicly.
In a feature for Entertainment Weekly in May 2016, he said,
“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.”
Looking back now, Colton realizes he did himself “a disservice” by hiding that part of himself. He said,
“I was told there was everything wrong with that kid who was showing his sexuality or being the way he was, and I felt like I was doing a disservice to the young me who just wanted to be loved, wanted to be seen, and have the option to pursue his dreams.”
“I’m so proud, and I love that photo shoot. It really captured a young, free queer kid who was just so happy in his body and expressing himself.”
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He even posted the cover photo from the now-infamous XY photoshoot on Instagram in June 2021 in celebration. He wrote in the caption,
“The boy in these pictures was so open, so free. He had to be taught that it wasn’t ok to be who he was.”
“Being gay is worth celebrating. I wish I’d figured that out sooner, but I’m so glad I know it now.”
The Teen Wolf movie is set to come out on streaming service Paramount Plus sometime in 2022.