Rupert Everett ‘ran in the opposite direction’ when boyfriend was diagnosed with HIV in the 80s

Rupert Everett Life Stories Piers Morgan

Rupert Everett has admitted he “ran in the opposite direction” when a boyfriend was diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s.

The actor told Piers Morgan on ITV’s Life Stories that he was “terrified” when the AIDS epidemic hit.

“You had a boyfriend who got HIV and it developed into AIDS, and it must have been terrifying for you and for him,” Morgan said.

“I was terrified of it, and of him, at a certain point too,” Everett said.

“I certainly don’t think it was me at my best, and what’s difficult for people to imagine now is what a drawn out and painful and humiliating and scary death it was too.”

Everett said he was “very lucky” to have avoided contracting HIV.

“Some friends of mine who survived it and didn’t have it were so amazing to their lovers and to their friends. I wasn’t. I was scared s**tless by it and kind of ran in the opposite direction,” he said.

The world ‘stood still’ when Rupert Everett found out about HIV

Rupert Everett also recounted the first time he heard about HIV, which was at that time referred to as a “gay plague” or a “gay cancer”.

The actor, who identifies as gay but has had sexual relationships with both men and women, was “having an affair” with an actress in a London hotel at the time.

“She was in the bath and I was watching the television, and this picture of this guy I used to sleep with came up,” Everett said.

“And I knew, the world literally stood still, and as the sound came in, they said: ‘This guy is one of the first people to get the new gay cancer.’ So I was really horrified and in shock from then on, and we were immediately outcast.”

Rupert Everett spoke of the stigma queer men began to face in their everyday life, revealing that staff in restaurants would “gingerly take your plate away from the table and wash it separately” when they were done eating.

“It was very isolating,” he said.

Elsewhere in the interview, Everett opened up about his sexual encounters with both men and women throughout the ’80s and ’90s.

When asked by Morgan if he thought he was bisexual, Everett said: “I loved anyone who fancied me. I came from such a strict, uptight world that every time I had sex I thought, ‘Whoa, I’m living!’

He also spoke of his lengthy affair with television presenter Paula Yates, who tragically died in September 2000.

Rupert Everett said he simply “ignored” Yates’ husband Bob Geldof and said he didn’t feel guilty at all about the affair.

“It would be for her to feel guilty, not me. I’m not married to Bob,” he said.

The actor also revealed that he used to attend the same pub as notorious serial killer Dennis Nilsen, who targeted gay and homeless men, and said he “could have been killed”.