Richard Armitage mentions male partner and says he came out at 19 ‘to anybody who mattered’

Actor Richard Armitage attends 'The Hobbit : The Battle Of The Five Armies' Paris Premiere at Le Grand Rex on December 4, 2014 in Paris, France.

Fool Me Once star Richard Armitage has opened up about his sexuality publicly for the first time.

The British actor, 51, casually mentioned his male partner and reflected on his coming out journey in separate interviews, revealing that he came out “to anybody who mattered” when he was a teenager.

Armitage, who has starred Netflix thrillers Obsession and Fool Me Once, as well as BBC dramas such as Spooks and Robin Hood, explained that he hadn’t previously discussed his sexuality publicly as he hadn’t wanted his personal life to overshadow his acting career.

He told Radio Times: “[Coming out] happened when I was 19 – to anybody who mattered – and I was always waiting for that question to punch me in the face, and it never did. I thought, ‘Are people being polite, or is it that they don’t want to know?’

“I don’t know that I ever wanted to put myself in front of the work I was doing, anything about my family or personal life. I just thought, ‘Let the work speak for itself’.”

Richard Armitage as William Farrow in Netflix series Obsession
Richard Armitage as William Farrow in “Obsession”. (Netflix)

Armitage, who also played Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit film trilogy, added that he’d been reticent to publicly put his own sexuality in a box.

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“I love the conversation with the younger generation. I love the idea that whatever gender, sexuality, the fluidity of who you love, how you identify, is not fixed,” explained the actor, who currently has rainbow Pride and trans Pride flag emojis included in his Twitter bio.

“That was always a thing: if I declare who I am and my sexuality, then I’m saying it’s fixed and I don’t know that, or if I might feel something for somebody further down the line. I doubt it, but I don’t know.

“It’s more relaxed now. As a writer and producer, I do wonder if anybody has to be defined by who they’re in love with.”

In a separate interview with the Evening Standard, Armitage confirmed that his partner was male as he discussed the impact of filming Obsession’s copious nude scenes on his relationship.

“We did talk about it. I reassured him that it was all going to be fine, and we were being well looked after”, recalled Armitage, as he revealed that he and co-star Charlie Murphy, who plays his onscreen lover Anna Barton, had “met each other’s partners and gone for dinner.”

As well as boasting an out and proud leading man in Armitage, Netflix’s Obsession is also providing queer representation in the form of his on-screen daughter, Sally, played by non-binary actor Sonera Angel.

Speaking to PinkNews recently, Angel declared that non-binary representation on screen is “on the cusp of something really amazing”, but noted that many non-binary actors are “still playing cis women”.

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