Paul Bettany says watching his dad ‘go back in the closet’ taught him an important lesson

Paul Bettany wearing glasses and a black roll-neck / a WandaVision promo pic of Wanda and Vision in black and white, with the image distorting to reveal their usual superhero appearances

Wandavision star Paul Bettany has revealed that watching his father “go back in the closet” showed to him how important it is for his children to be their authentic selves.

Bettany, who plays Marvel superhero Vision in the Disney+ show, last year revealed how his father Thane Bettany had gone back into the closet in the final years of his life.

An actor and keen ballet dancer, Thane sparked a relationship with a man named Andy Clark after he and Bettany’s mother, Anne, a theatre teacher, divorced in 1993 following 25 years of marriage.

The two were together for 20 years, living in Fife, Scotland, before Clark’s death in 2015.

In a new interview, Bettany spoke about how his father’s experience affected him.

“The terrible thing for my father is that, in the end, he went back in the closet, which was awful to watch, really,” the Marvel star recalled to People magazine.

“And that really speaks to the power of his Catholicism, which sort of led him to a place of shame and inability to mourn his partner in a real way.

“I really want my children, and I want everybody, to just live authentically as the person they are, and however hard that is, it’s absolutely better than pretending to be something other than you are.”

In learning from his father’s life, Bettany, 49, hopes that his children find strength “in not being judgmental”.

“Having been through a thousand years of therapy, there’s real power in getting to know yourself,” he said.

“I have so many things to be grateful for.”

The Avengers actor added that the death of his eight-year-old brother Matthew when he was 16 shaped him as a person as he was plunged into a life of drinking and partying to deal with his grief.

“I think that you start [healing] slowly, and very much at a snail’s pace,” he said.

“I thought I’d be dead on a couch by 25. But you grow up. There are some things where you go: ‘I feel exactly the same as I did at 16’.

“And there are some things where you feel ancient. Not sage but ancient. I just think if I didn’t believe in change, I’d book a ticket out of here.”

Bettany is currently starring in WandaVision, the first of Disney Plus’ eagerly-anticipated Marvel TV spin-offs.

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