Grey’s Anatomy star Jake Borelli: I came out as gay for my LGBT fans

Grey's Anatomy actor Jake Borelli, who said he "assumed" his character Levi Schmitt is straight

Jake Borelli, who plays Levi Schmitt in Grey’s Anatomy, has said he came out as gay for his young LGBT+ fans.

Borelli publicly came out as gay in November, after his character Schmitt shared a kiss with male surgeon Nico Kim (Alex Landi) in a Grey’s Anatomy episode titled “Flowers Grow Out of My Grave.”

Borelli’s character Schmitt is currently enjoying an on-screen romance with Kim on Grey’s Anatomy, which is in its fifteenth series.

In an interview with Parade, published on Thursday (January 24), Borelli was asked whether he thought viewers needed to know if an actor playing a gay role is gay in real life.

Grey’s Anatomy actor Jake Borelli: I felt “compelled” to be honest about my sexuality

“I understand where you’re coming from when you say you don’t think it’s necessarily mandatory for actors to talk about their sexuality,” responded Borelli.

“I think it’s a case-by-case basis, but for me, and with the relationship that I started to have with these young LGBTQ viewers, I felt compelled and an obligation to be honest with them, and to say, ‘Hey, guys. You’re not alone.’

“Otherwise, I think it would do it a disservice.”

“It has become bigger than me, and it’s become bigger than just my sexuality. That’s why I did it.”

—Jake Borelli

The 27-year-old actor’s comments come amid a debate around whether gay parts should be reserved for gay actors.

In December, American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versaceactor Darren Criss said he would stop playing gay parts so that gay actors could play them instead.

And in August, Jack Whitehall, who is straight, came under fire when he was cast as Disney’s first openly gay character in upcoming film Jungle Cruise.

Borelli added: “I know as someone who went through this when I was younger, I would have killed to have someone to look up to and to talk to about these sorts of things.

“It has become bigger than me, and it’s become bigger than just my sexuality. That’s why I did it.”

Grey's Anatomy's Nico Kim who is having an on-screen romance with Levi Schmitt, played by Jake Borelli

Borelli’s character is having an on-screen romance with Nico Kim, played by Alex Landi. (ABC)

Jake Borelli comes out as gay after Grey’s Anatomy character has same-sex romance

Borelli publicly came out as gay to his fans on Instagram, after being inspired by his character’s same-sex romance.

“As a gay guy myself, tonight’s episode was so special to me,” Borelli posted on Thursday.

“This is exactly the kind of story I craved as a young gay kid growing up in Ohio, and it blows my mind that I’m able to bring life to Dr. Levi Schmitt as he begins to grapple with his own sexuality this season on Grey’s Anatomy.

“His vulnerability and courage inspire me every day, and I hope he can do the same for you.”

Borelli uploaded a photo of himself wearing a Pride-themed bandana.

The actor previously said that he had “assumed” his character is straight.