Rupert Everett: Being gay was a huge issue throughout much of my career

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British actor Rupert Everett says for much of his career being gay seemed like something that would limit his future.

In an interview to The Daily Telegraph, the 55-year-old star talked candidly about his insecurities.

When asked if he felt misunderstood, he replied: “Not exactly. You can only understand the disaster of your own case yourself.

“You can’t ever expect the world to see everything about yourself in the way that you do – certainly in terms of conducting a career as a homosexual in showbusiness. Not so much now, maybe, because I’m older. It’s not such a threatening problem. But all through my career it was a huge issue.”

He continued: “There’s a whole side of my business now which clicks its fingers for world peace and equal rights. Movie stars and directors and studios spend a lot of money promoting human rights and being charitable in Africa but, actually, in their own backyard, they really don’t accept that any of these things [are] happening.

“So people mostly said to me: ‘Oh, but you’ve been so difficult and you’ve blown everything for yourself, you’ve sabotaged your own career.’

“To a certain extent, it’s true, but to a certain extent, it isn’t. There’s only a certain amount of mileage you can make, as a young pretender, as a leading man, as a homosexual.

“There just isn’t very far you can go.”

The actor was also convinced he had contracted HIV during the 1980s. Seeing so many men die from the virus – at a time when there was no effective antiretroviral therapy – left him feeling terrified.

“AIDS in the eighties was a very, very scary thing”, he said. “There were people walking around with the disease that looked like the undead.

“Terrifying. I spent the first six years of my career thinking that any minute now I would probably come out with it.

“The first 10 years of my career were conducted with this interior hysteria of terror.

“In one sense, it made everything unpleasant. With every lens, I was wondering if they were going in too tight on what I might be hiding.

“I was very lucky, considering my very sluttish behaviour, never to get HIV.

“But I always thought I had it. I can look at films I’ve been in and see in my face this sheer terror.”

Rupert Everett is known for his controversial statements. In 2012 he said that he couldn’t think of “anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads”.

He added: “Some people might not agree with that. Fine! That’s just my opinion”.

In a 2009 interview with The Observer, he advised gay actors to keep their sexual orientation a secret in order to safeguard their careers.