While we don’t care who sleeps with who where or when, we do care about celebrities, especially those who are actors or actresses. Whenever people ask if an actor identifies as gay, bisexual, or straight, you often hear people say, “Does it matter?” Well, that depends. Will it change our opinion of the person? No. Do we, as the celebrity-obsessed public, want to know about celebrities’ personal lives? Yeah, kinda. There are entire channels dedicated to shows about celebrity lifestyles. Of course, people care. We want to know everything about celebrities, and that includes their love life.
If the star has talked about it, we’re going to comment on it. We don’t presume to know anything other than what the actors themselves have addressed, so unless we missed something, every classification in this list is based on what the actor has said. Now, one thing we noticed about lists like this that discuss the sexuality of stars is that there seems to be an either-or stance—either the actor is straight or gay, with nothing in-between. Well, since we’re not big fans of bi-erasure, every actor on this list considers themselves heterosexual. No Andy Dick, David Bowie, or any other bisexual actor is included (unless they’re closeted bisexual, and we’re none the wiser).
Really, what we’re dealing with today is public perception. Whether it’s because of the actor’s incredible performances, rumors, or just something about the actor’s personality or mannerisms, people believe the actors and actresses on this list to be gay. They are not. There is also the PR process of “queerbaiting,” which refers to an actor hinting that they may be homosexual in order to lure in a larger fanbase. This is more common than you would think in Hollywood. It is also very effective, which is why there is so much discussion about the sexuality of certain stars. So, let’s go through some of the most mysterious or misunderstood actors in the industry. Here are 15 Actors You Always Thought Were Gay Who Are Actually Straight.
15. Tim Curry
Tim Curry‘s sexuality has always been assumed but never truly confirmed. The actor is intensely private and questions about his private life have been sidestepped for many years. Still, most people guessed that he was gay or bisexual because of his characters. Of course, much of that comes from Dr. Frank N. Furter of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, one of the most famous and iconic characters in musical theater. Other characters, like Wadsworth from Clue, leaned gay without ever explicitly addressing it. Curry did, at one point, say that he was comfortable with his sexuality, but the implication was that he was straight but not afraid or ashamed of being seen as gay.
14. Diego Luna
Throughout his career, Diego Luna has demonstrated that he is an incredible performer. We believe each and every single one of his characters. Perhaps, it’s for this reason that Luna has been rumored to be gay for quite some time. It’s not true. He was married to a woman, and the only evidence we have of his personal life is of the heterosexual variety. Still, his characters in Y Tu Mama Tambien with Gael Garcia Bernal and Milk with Sean Penn were very, very convincing. Because people see Luna on screen playing a gay character, they think it must be who he is in his everyday life. Nope, he’s just a very good actor.
13. John Travolta
Rumors of John Travolta being gay have surrounded the actor for decades. While Travolta may be a closeted homosexual or bisexual, he has only ever denied these reports, so we will take his word for it. Some actors have had rumors like this around them that have been proven false, whereas others eventually came out, like Kevin Spacey. With Travolta, it seems that it’s all just talk at this point. There have been accusations by men against Travolta that claim the actor assaulted them, but Travolta suggests that these were extortion efforts and nothing more. Since 1991, Travolta has been married to the gorgeous Kelly Preston, so whatever he’s doing is working.
12. Matthew Morrison
Matthew Morrison has a large gay following who wish the rumors that he is gay were true, but they’re not. Despite playing the super gay, albeit apparently straight, character of Will Schuster on Glee, Morrison is just acting. He is married. When asked about it, Morrison said, “I know my own truth. I’m in a great relationship with a woman. Maybe before, it used to bother me. Then I was like, ‘This is so stupid that this bothers me. Some of my best friends in the world are gay, and if this is bothering me, then that means I have an issue with that.’ Once I figured that out for myself, I thought, ‘I don’t care what anyone thinks about me.’ That’s why I think I’ve become an ally for the gay and lesbian community. I just got [an Ally for Equality Award] the other day in Atlanta. I’ve very proud of my role in the community. So say what you will.” Though Morrison once took it as a jab, seeing him as gay is a compliment to his acting. He was on quite possibly the gayest show on television and played a very gay version of a straight man. It’s a logical step for people to at least question it.
11. James Franco
James Franco has been gay on film a number of times. He played gay characters in Milk, Howl, and Blind Spot. He’s also played a bisexual in virtually every role, save maybe The Disaster Artist; and even that one is questionable. In real life, Franco is much like the majority of his characters—open to anything. Or at least, that’s what he would like us to believe. In the past, Franco has said that he is “kind of gay,” but he later would clarify and describe himself as a “tease.” He is not gay and, by all accounts, has never been gay, but he is flirtatious and seems to enjoy getting attention from everyone. By leaving the door open that he might be gay, he also leaves the door open for more interest and a larger fan base.
10. Eric McCormack
Despite the fact that Eric McCormack might have played (and is once again playing) one of the most famous gay characters in the history of television on Will & Grace, he is in fact straight. McCormack has been married to Janet Leigh Holden for more than 30 years now. He is also a major supporter and advocate of gay rights and the LGBT community. After Will & Grace went off the air, the rumors about McCormack’s sexuality fizzled out a bit, but now that the show has returned, we expect there to be plenty of confused fans out there once again. This man is just a great actor playing a role that he is very comfortable playing.
9. Kerr Smith
Kerr Smith will always be known as Gay Jack McPhee who had one of the first gay onscreen kisses in TV history on Dawson’s Creek. Now, it might shock people, but Smith is not gay in real life. He was married to Harmoni Everett for years, but they have since divorced. There were rumors at the time that James Vanderbeek from Dawson’s Creek was gay as well, so maybe this had something to do with the talk about Smith. Either way, Smith (and/or Vanderbeek) never came out of the closet, so it seems that they are both happily straight. One thing that has changed about Smith is that he now has a full head of silver, which looks amazing. Gray but not gay.
8. Eric Stonestreet
With the success of Modern Family, Eric Stonestreet has become a familiar face on our televisions. Although he’s done other work, it’s his role as Cameron Tucker that has been the role we all know him for. Now, since Cameron is gay and Stonestreet is so damn good in the part, people have just assumed that he is gay. While this is a pretty well-known issue, meaning all the big fans of Modern Family already know that Stonestreet is actually heterosexual, it’s still somewhat unknown to people who have only seen the show and not read anything about the actors. In the past, Stonestreet has joked about the misconception, saying that he is, in fact, “openly straight.” That being said, Stonestreet is a big supporter of the LGBT community and has embraced his role model status in the gay community.
7. Armie Hammer
You might not be on the “Armie Hammer is gay” train just yet, but it exists, and it’s only picking up steam. Despite the fact that Hammer is happily married to the beautiful Elizabeth Chambers and has never hinted in his public or private life that he is gay, many believe that he is because of his acting. In truth, it comes down to two of his biggest roles. The first came in the film J. Edgar, in which Hammer played Clyde Tolson, a s*xual interest of J. Edgar Hoover’s. Most recently, we got the incredible performance from Hammer in Call Me by Your Name. Now, just because an actor plays a gay role, does not make him gay. But, Hammer is so damn good in these roles that it’s bound to drum up some discussion. As the latter film gets more attention this awards season, we predict more people will confuse acting with real life.
6. Richard Jenkins
Richard Jenkins has been married to the same woman since 1969. That’s almost 50 years of heterosexuality. Still, there are many people out there that have just accepted Jenkins to be gay. Now, much of this perception is because Jenkins has such a large gay following. In Flirting with Disaster, he played a gay FBI agent with Josh Brolin and gained a lot of attention. He then got involved with Six Feet Under, which was a groundbreaking show for homosexuality in mainstream television. Even though his character was not gay in the show, it was very important for the LGBT community. Now, Jenkins is touring the award circuit for his role in The Shape of Water. Even though Jenkins is not gay, we expect that the misconception that he is gay will pick up quite a bit over the next couple of months.
5. Peter Sarsgaard
For close to a decade now, Peter Sarsgaard has been married to Maggie Gyllenhaal, but that has never stopped the gay rumors from swirling. Sarsgaard has played several gay characters in his life, maybe as much as any other heterosexual actor. He played gay in Kinsey, The Dying Gaul, and in The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. He was even kind of gay in Boys Don’t Cry and several other films. Now, when he’s not playing gay, he’s played a super creepy guy, so he’s probably ecstatic that he’s more often mistaken as gay than this his other role type. Sarsgaard has always sought out diverse roles, so playing a gay man when he is not is a challenge that he enjoys. He’s also very well-spoken and proper and some people tend to see these as gay qualities, for whatever reason.
4. Jared Leto
It’s to be expected that Jared Leto is thought to be gay in the public eye. Some of his biggest roles have been gay, or misunderstood as gay, such as Black and White, Alexander, and Dallas Buyers Club (a transgender woman). Now, Leto is slated to play Andy Warhol, another gay man, in an upcoming biopic. When asked about how he feels playing gay characters and if Hollywood is “ready” for a leading gay male actor, Leto said, “I definitely don’t think a gay leading man would have the same opportunities as a straight leading man. I don’t think that. Not for a single second,” Leto said. “I don’t know if that’s offensive or not, but that’s my thought right now. It shouldn’t be that way. I don’t think you’ll have as many opportunities. And I think you could say the same for minorities. What a word, minority. Have we taken that word off the list yet? ‘Cause it should be. Anyway, no, I think that this is still a very conservative business.”
3. Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Johnathan Rhys Meyers has played gay on TV and in film. He was gay in B. Monkey, Stonewall, and Velvet Goldmine. He was closeted in The Tudors and ambiguous in other roles. This is a man who is so attractive and so seemingly fluid in his sexuality that every gender is attracted to him, and Meyers likes it that way. He’s refreshingly open-minded about most of everything, especially when it comes to who other people choose to go to bed with. He has a massive gay following who are still holding out hope that he comes out one day. But, if it hasn’t happened already, it doesn’t seem like it will ever happen.
2. Finn Jones
It’s all because of Loras Tyrell. Well, a little because of Danny Rand/Iron Fist as well, but mostly because of Loras Tyrell from Game of Thrones. Finn Jones was just so convincing in that part. He played the role with such conviction. There was both strength and femininity in his performance, a combination that appeared very honest. This led many Game of Thrones fans to believe that Jones must actually be gay in real life. It’s not true, but he claims to understand and support the LGBT community wholeheartedly. We respect him for that.
1. Nelsan Ellis
It was sad news last year to learn that Nelsan Ellis had passed away. The actor was only 39 and seemed to have finally hit his stride in the acting world when he died. Ellis was best known for his portrayal of Lafayette on True Blood. It was also this character that caused many to believe that Ellis was gay in real life. He wasn’t, but he embraced the talk. This is because for Ellis, the rumors were the ultimate compliment for his portrayal of a gay man. Lafayette was so convincing and lovable that people just accepted that the actor was simply playing himself. For many, that was easier than believing that Ellis was such a good actor. In reality, Ellis and Lafayette were very different people in their outward appearances.