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Chris Colfer told ‘do not come out’ as a teen even as he played gay role on Glee

The actor was told "if you never address it, you’ll be rewarded for it in the end"

By Jamie Tabberer

Chris Colfer in Glee
Chris Colfer in Glee (Image: Fox)

Chris Colfer has said he was advised by industry figures to not come out publicly as gay, even though he was playing a gay character at the time on TV show Glee.

Colfer, who portrayed out gay schoolboy Kurt on Glee from 2009-2015, was furthermore told “if you never address it, you’ll be rewarded for it in the end.”

The star, now 34, said he received the advice as Glee production was first getting underway. He would have been around 18 years old at the time.

“When I saw that it was an openly gay character, I was terrified” – Chris Colfer on Glee

“I grew up in a very conservative town where being openly gay was dangerous,” the actor said on a recent appearance on The View (via Variety). “I remember when I got on Glee, the role was written for me, and I did not know what the role was going to be.

“So, I opened the script and when I read the script for the first time was when I saw that it was an openly gay character. […] I was terrified.”

Colfer would go on to win a 2011 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his work on the show.

The Struck by Lightning star continued: “When I started filming the show I had a lot of people tell me, ‘Do not come out, whatever you do, because it will ruin your career.’ So I hid for a little bit.”

“But I also told them, ‘I can’t hide it with my voice… I’m more effeminate than most people. I can’t hide it.’ And they said, ‘Don’t worry. As long as you never address it, you’ll be rewarded for it in the end.’”

Explaining how a young fan handed him an envelope containing a ‘thank you’ note and rainbow-coloured paper clips, Colfer went on: “At the time, I was thinking, ‘Okay, yeah, if I’m an openly gay actor, yeah, I may never win a major award. I may never get to play a superhero. But I think being a beacon of positivity and providing that comfort for people is way more important than attention.”

Chris’s subsequent screen credits include Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie and Hot In Cleveland.