Rocketman star Taron Egerton has opened up about his own process of sexual discovery, revealing he "had a period" of thinking he might be be gay after friends of his came out at school.
The Welsh actor, who plays Sir Elton John in the upcoming muscial biopic, said that while he'll never be able to fully relate to the experiences of LGBTQ people, he has "some understanding" of what it might be like to have to come to terms with being gay after questioning his own sexuality during his teenage years.
"When I was 14 or 15, I had a period of thinking I might be gay and I spoke to my mother about it," Taron says as he poses for an eclusive shoot by Damon Baker in Attitude's June issue, available to download and to order globally.
Taron Egerton, shot by Damon Baker at ADB Agency exclusively for Attitude's June issue
"It was part of a period in my life where my mind was figuring things out. You question everything, there are hormones... It was a very real feeling to me and I was very panicked and upset about how I would be perceived.
"That is not the same as going through it for real but there is some understanding of what it might be like, and I remember feeling that accutely.
"I'm am not comparing that to living it for real, but I am saying that I guess there is a small kernel of that which I have experienced."
Taron, who was forced to respond to speculation over his sexuality last year after referring to a male friend as a "cutie" and "my boy" on Instagtam, adds: "There is a limit to being able to imagine how terrifying and how alienating [coming to terms with your sexuality] might feel".
The Kingsman star says he only agreed to play the role of Sir Elton in Rocketman after deciding the story was one the gay community could feel "a sense of ownership over", and reveals that he also drew on his experience of helping a close friend come to terms with being gay.
"My best friend from drama school, who I lived with, came out to me. I lived with someone as they came to terms with their sexuality," he recalls.
"I've had someone cry in my arms about the fact that they were so terrified and at a loss at what to do."
While last year's Oscar-winning musicial biopic Bohemian Rhapsody was criticised by many for 'straight-washing' Freddie Mercury's story, Taron insists that Rocketman does not shy away from Elton's sexuality, and that that he feels "privileged" to be taking on the role of one of the world's most famous gay men, despite identifying as straight.
"It's easy for me to sit here as a white heterosexual man and say I should be able to play a part I want, but I completely understand why a gay actor would feel that this an opportunity for which they would be better suited," he says.
"The way I feel about it is that Elton asked me to play in a movie about his life. I am proud and privileged to be playing this person who happens to be gay."
Read Taron's full interview in Attitude's June issue, out now.