Video: Wentworth Miller talks staying closeted as an actor – ‘I chose a lie to keep my career’

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British-born American actor Wentworth Miller, who came out as gay in a letter sent to St Petersburg last month, spoke recently on his reasons for staying closeted at the height of his fame, saying he “chose a lie” to keep his career.

On Monday, Wentworth Miller spoke to an audience at a Human Rights Campaign (HRC) dinner in Seattle on how he tried to commit suicide at 15 by swallowing a “bottle of pills” because he was gay.

He also shared his reasons for staying closeted at the height of his career, saying he has always had a “complicated relationship” with the gay community.

He said: “I’ve been slow to embrace it, I’ve been hesitant, I’ve been doubtful. For many years I could not and would not accept that there was anything in that word (community) for someone like me – like connection, support, strength, warmth.”

He added: “It’s been natural to see myself as an individual. It’s been a challenge to imagine that self as part of something larger.”

The Prison Break star said that after he discovered he was an international success, he was fearful about revealing his sexual orientation to fans.

He said: “I gave thousands of interviews. I had multiple opportunities to speak my truth – that I was gay – but I chose not to.”

Miller said he “chose to lie” out of fears that he might otherwise ruin his career.

He said: “I was filled with fear, anger, and a stubborn resistance that had built up.”

Miller came out in an open letter to the St Petersburg International Film Festival.

In the letter, he wrote: “I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government. The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.”

Wilson Cruz, from US LGBT advocacy group GLAAD commended the actor’s decision, saying: “Wentworth’s bold show of support sends a powerful message to LGBT Russians, who are facing extreme violence and persecution: you are not alone. As people from across the globe continue to speak out against Russia’s horrific law, more celebrities and corporations should follow his courageous lead in openly condemning Russia’s anti-LGBT law.”