Heartstopper’s Joe Locke slams ‘gross’ speculation about his love life: ‘I’m 18, I don’t know’

Kit Connor and Joe Locke.

Heartstopper actors Kit Connor and Joe Locke have opened up about how fame and subsequent invasions of their private lives have impacted them. 

Since Heartstopper was released in April, Connor and Locke have been propelled to international stardom, with their lives put under increasing scrutiny.

Both actors have seen speculation about their sexualities and love lives.

Speaking to GQ for its Men of the Year issue, Locke shared his anger at tabloids publishing rumours about who he is dating, calling it “gross”. 

“Someone making money out of rumours about who I – an 18-year-old boy – might be liking or talking to, it’s really gross and perverted,” he said.

“I’m 18… I don’t know who I am yet.”

Connor, who plays rugby player Nick, also shared his struggles with navigating the unimaginable level of fame the pair now have.

In September, Connor quit Twitter after he was filmed holding hands with his Cuban Girl’s Guide co-star Maia Reficco, which led to some ‘fans’ accusing him of so-called queerbaiting.

Earlier this month, the star briefly returned to the app to say that he is bisexual, after trolls amped up the pressure on him to come out.

Speaking to GQ before he was forced to come out, Kit Connor said that deleting Twitter was “the best decision” of his life.

“Social media is not a window into my soul at all,” he said. “In many ways it’s great, but as someone who’s in the public eye, if you look for people saying bad stuff about you, you’ll find it.

“You want to know what people are saying. Everyone wants to be liked, which is slightly heartbreaking when you’re in the position of someone like me or Joe,” he added.

Connor has remained off of Twitter since his forced coming out but has received an outpouring of love from true fans and his co-stars.

Among those to send a message of support was Heartstopper author Alice Oseman, who tweeted: “I truly don’t understand how people can watch Heartstopper and then gleefully spend their time speculating about sexualities and judging based on stereotypes.”

Many fans have since denounced the notion of queerbaiting, with one Twitter user saying: “Queerbaiting is a technique used in fiction, not in real life.”

During the GQ interview, the pair also touched on the much-anticipated upcoming second season of Heartstopper and the themes the season will focus on, including body dysmorphia and mental health, which Joe Locke said he himself can relate to.

“I feel like everyone sees weaknesses and problems in their own bodies,” he said. “[For me], they’ve been heightened in the last year because more people are seeing my face and seeing the things that I hate about myself.” 

He once asked his mum to pin back his ears, a feature he was particularly self conscious about, before a friend convinced him otherwise.

“Now I really like my ears,” he said. “I think they’re a defining feature of me.”