Ted Lasso star Billy Harris shares heart-warming response from LGBTQ+ fans to Colin’s gay storyline

Billy Harris as Colin Hughes in Ted Lasso.

Ted Lasso actor Billy Harris has talked about the sweet reaction he’s received from LGBTQ+ football fans after his character was revealed to be gay.

In episode three of the football comedy drama’s third season, which aired last month, viewers watched as Colin Hughes entered his kitchen with male love interest Michael, played by Sam Liu.

The pair kiss, before Richmond AFC player Colin asks Michael: “Text me when you get back from Dubai?”

Following the episode, fans of the series aired their support for the “nonchalant” way that Ted Lasso included LGBTQ+ representation. Now, Harris has shared some of the “amazing” responses he’s had from viewers who are both queer and love football.

Speaking to Variety, he said: “I’ve read pretty much every tweet, which I know I shouldn’t do, but I just love Colin and to see that support from other people is just really nice,” adding that many fans have contacted him, “saying they wish their younger self could have watched this.”

Ted Lasso characters Colin Hughes and Michael kiss.
Ted Lasso’s Colin Hughes was revealed to be gay. (Apple TV+)

He went on: “I’ve had so many people telling me: ‘I loved football but I was also gay in school and I knew well the prejudices that go hand-in-hand with being gay and being a footballer. To have watched this would have really helped me.’ That’s been amazing.”

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LGBTQ+ people have a troubled relationship with football, with 70 per cent of people who have attended a match saying they’ve heard homophobia from other fans. Homophobic chants at matches are still fairly common.

There is also a scarcity of out gay male footballers, with Josh Cavallo and Jake Daniels two of the only notable professional players to come out in recent years. 

Speaking about his character though, Hughes puts it best: “His love is football, but he also loves men and that can go hand-in-hand.”

Fans of the show were given a hint that Colin might be gay during the season two when the character made a quip about dating app Grindr.

“There came the line about Grindr, and I read that, and said: ‘That’s a story in itself. A young guy on a football team talking about Grindr.’ So, I realised this is something that may flourish in the future,” Harris said.

“What I felt like from the moment the line was said, is a community felt represented in their favourite TV show.”

While Ted Lasso is yet to be renewed for a fourth season, Hughes is already considering the potential for future TV spin-offs. 

Reflecting on the idea of a new series starring Colin and sports journalist character Trent Crimm, who knows about Colin’s sexuality, Hughes said: “[Trent would] take me to some amazing places, I bet. He looks well-travelled. We’d be sipping wine in Sorrento [in Italy]. He looks suave, he could teach Colin his suave ways.”

Ted Lasso is available to stream on Apple TV.