March 9th, 2010
10:48 AM ET

'Will & Grace's' Sean Hayes: 'I am who I am'

Sean HayesIn the April issue of The Advocate, it looks as though Sean Hayes, who played the flamboyantly gay Jack McFarland on “Will & Grace,” has come out of the closet. Sort of.

For the sitcom's run from 1998 to 2006, Hayes played the part of  Jack McFarland so well that it was only a matter of time before everyone inquired about his off-camera sexuality. Until now it was question that the 39-year-old actor steadfastly refused to comment on.

As he told the Detroit Free Press early in his career, “When I play a gay character I want to be as believable as possible. And when I’m playing a straight character I also want to be as believable as possible. So the less that people know about my personal life, the more believable I can be as a character.”

The Advocate points out in their April interview with Hayes, that he never acted as though he were straight.

“I am who I am. I was never in, as they say,” Hayes told the magazine. “Never.”

So why didn’t he ever spell it out for the media? For Hayes, the better question is, why should he?

“I believe that nobody owes anything to anybody,” Hayes said. “You are your authentic self to whom and when you choose to be, and if you don’t know somebody, then why would you explain to them how you live your life?”

With his role on “Will & Grace,” Hayes said he feels “like I’ve contributed monumentally to the success of the gay movement in America, and if anyone wants to argue that, I’m open to it.”

Filed under: Celebrities • television

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Str8 Outta Tx

    i mustn't forget True Texan.
    thank you all for getting on me
    Believe it or not it helped.

    March 10, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LBW

    When Clay Aiken finally said just what he was, people pretty much knew already. It didn't help or hurt his career. As for Sean, it is no ones business, but if he is gay, then is he ashamed? I'm still confused.

    March 10, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Robert

    Hey Sean Hayes, if you won't actually say the words "yes I'm gay" to the Advocate (even though everyone in the known universe realized you were gay in the stone age) then your claim to have contributed to the gay movement is not only delusional and pathetic, it's also cowardly. Coming out is a personal choice and I don't take issue with that – but taking credit for a movement you were too cowardly to take part in is disgusting. Shame on you.

    March 10, 2010 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  4. Str8 Outta Tx

    appology to
    Head Diva In Charge
    who cares???
    and anyone else...

    March 10, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. Str8 Outta Tx

    notice i put the term that i used in quotations. i used it because that is the most popular word that people i know use. i am 19!sorry i f***ed up and offended some people with that one.yeah i got ahead of myself.probalby should have thought a little more about what i had to say since it obviously got confused.seriously confused!i'm not stuck on myself.i do not believe every female in the world adores me. sometimes it's quite the opposite. anyway though... i am trying to be a man about this whole situation and appologize to anyone i may have offended. i am neew to this whole thing. no im not a steer, and no i am not homosexual. that is as big of a stereotype as i used if i am not mistaken. for those of you wondering what the point of my post was, there was none. i was bored. i get that way sometimes, just like any other human straight, gay or otherwise.
    i appologize to my fellow texans whom i may or may not have made look like bigots. i also appologize once again for any comments i may have ever posted to offend anyone. i made a big mistake. hopefully the point of this blog is not unclear. IT'S AN APPOLOGY!
    but anyway...i hope i made some sort of ammends for my words, but if not, i'm secure enough to know that i tried, and that is all i can do
    hook em horns!

    March 10, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  6. Chris

    This issue is so 90's. Can we move on, please?

    March 10, 2010 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. S. Smith

    Sean Hayes was absolutely brilliant in the Jerry Lewis/Dean Martin made for television movie. He'll do more brilliant work and we will love him. We just don't care what his sexual preference is because we admire his acting!

    March 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. My Name

    I agree with Sean. Why does everyone need to know about other people's sexuality – is nothing sacred or private anymore just because you're in the public eye? A person's sexuality is the most intimate thing about them, no one has a "right" to know about it. I'm talking to you, Perez Hilton, you lame queen.

    March 9, 2010 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cat22

    I did not care while I was watching Will and Grace whether any were straight or gay. I loved the show, it was smart and funny and I will say that I only watched it due in part to Karen and Jack.. They were funny and original and are still very much missed.

    March 9, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jane

    Who cares if he's gay or straight? The guy is hugely talented and what's more seems like a geniunely decent person. Much of the reason for the success of Will and Grace is due to him and Megan Mullaley. Those two were the best. BTW Sean is going to be in a B'way show – a revival of Promises, Promises starting this month. I hope it's a tremendous success. I love Sean Hayes and couldn't care less about his orientation. As a matter of fact, I don't care about anyone's orientation. What I care about is: Are you a good person, do you make misery in the world or do you try to make your little part of it better. Sean makes it better.

    March 9, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mom are adorable!!!

    March 9, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jan

    Sean was hilarious on W & G. He plays flamboyant gay convincingly, as well as straight convincingly. So who cares about his private life? What a talent. We just miss him!!

    March 9, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dan

    No One has to tell anyone if they are gay Or Not. If it is just part of your life then why does anyone need an explanation Unless they are trying to sleep with that person . It is not something to be ashamed of nor proud of. It is Just who you are. gay straight bi etc.. just lables that mean nothing really. in the grand scheme of things. If you live your life authentically and are you then it doesnt matter your sexual orientation. JUST BE...

    March 9, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. True Texan

    uh....well, we're going to have to differ on THAT one "who cares???........GIG 'EM AGGIES! ;-)_

    March 9, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  15. who cares???

    i agree with true texan – stop making texans look like fools – i am a proud DEMOCRAT, liberal, christian, texan. oh and btw HOOK EM HORNS LOL!!

    March 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  16. True Texan

    Man I hate it when Texans come on here and say something stupid, making the rest of us look like bigots. Sean...LOVE go on with your bad self. As far as I'm concerned, we women are the one's missing out! I'm so proud of you!

    March 9, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Linda

    Sean Hayes was a riot on Will and Grace and he'll be a delight in whatever format he appears; whether it be t.v., theatre, etc. Who cares whether he's gay or straight its his talent that counts and he's got it in spades!!

    March 9, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  18. OMFG

    "as long as they dont come at me the wrong way"... Straight people kill me. Are they that full of themselves or egotistical that they always think we'll make the moves on them?
    Not all gay people want you, some have no interest in straight people other than friendship. Get over yourselves...

    March 9, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  19. who cares???

    okay str8 outta where ever – hell i am thinking – has "sugar in his tank too." what a crappy thing to say. to each his own. i am a born again christian, i love the lord, and i have no problem with anyone gay straight, whatever. and to say that you have a problem with men but not women? that just makes you another dumb redneck. you sound like an idiot. jesus never said one word about homosexuality, and the only references in the bible to it are from others, and i am going to listen to GOD not others.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Antonio

    Ok. I'm straight, so maybe I missed the point of "Will & Grace." But I always felt that it portrayed gay people as a bunch of whiners who are obsessed with their relationships to the exclusion of all else and also played to stereotypes WAY too much. I have a number of gay friends who watched and some liked it, but at least a few flt the sae way I did. I stopped watching after about a season.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  21. TJ

    I don't think it's anybody business with whom or what you do in the bedroom as long as its with consenting ADULTS.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Liberal Idaho

    "Str8 Outta Tx" needs to leave his state more often, and look up the term, "hypocrite." And if doesn't "hate 'faggots'" why the derogatory term, or even comment on an actor he's never watched?

    Meanwhile, thank you for stating the obvious: It's none of anyone's damn business, unless you choose it to be. Good for you!

    March 9, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  23. stacey

    Sean, you are great no matter. You are one of the funniest actors I have seen and hope to more of whether it be on TV, Broadway or the BIG SCREEN. Count me in for the "Will and Grace" reunion.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Liberal Idaho

    "Str8 Outta Tx" needs to leave his state more often, and look up the term, "hypocrite." And if doesn't "hate 'faggots'" why the derogatory term, or even comment on an actor he's never watched?


    March 9, 2010 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Kathi

    I would say that Sean used his classiness to basically tell the world that what happens in his bedroom is between his partner and the sheets and none of anyone else's business.

    Why does a declaration need to be made? Leave it to the person, not to the media. You listening Perz Hilton? You are making money off the backs of your brothers and sisters. It isn't up to you. Leave it alone.

    March 9, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Joe

    Str8 Outta Tx, the very fact that you used the term "F * * * ot" makes me think you're just as gay as me and Sean!

    You know what they say about Texas – only 2 things come from there, steers and queers.

    Pretty sure you're not a steer...

    March 9, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  27. loveyoumeanit

    We don't care if you come out...
    Just come back!!
    Loved you on 30rock..
    You were telling MY story in Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss too.

    thank you...

    March 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  28. VT

    I agree with Nick, that it's too little, too late. He did contribute to the gay movement, but he could have contributed "MONUMENTALLY" more, by simply being out. He played the part of the unrealistic, dumb, sissy, for comic relief, and he got paid A LOT of money for it. Eric McCormack, on the other hand, is a straight man, who wasn't afraid to play a educated gay character, with some diginity and a real job.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  29. lauree

    'Just Jack'...LOL!

    Gay...Strait...Who cares?!?! I love him! 🙂

    March 9, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  30. JaneBill

    um, Nick... the Advocate interviewed HIM, it wasn't like he said hey magazine, let's do an interview so i can stir up some drama for business. They asked him the question.

    He missed the boat doing what? Being relevant. He's more relevant than you.

    Ignorance = stupidity.

    March 9, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Martini007

    awww Sean Hayes. I love this fella. He is a brilliant and talented actor and I'm kinda upset that i don't see him in more films. Will & Grace was and still is my # 1 fav sitcom of all time... but yes... gay / straight who cares.... he is so cute 🙂

    March 9, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  32. chris

    Who cares? He makes us laugh!

    March 9, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  33. LBW

    Okay, I am confused. Is he or isn't he? I thought he was married with children. Am I wrong?

    March 9, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  34. Nick

    sorry, Sean . . . too little, too late. you're just trying to get in the spotlight for a moment to promote your Broadway debut. you could've been relevant several years ago when you had a more significant opportunity, but you sadly missed the boat. next.

    March 9, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  35. JIM

    Sounds like Strt Outta TX may have a little "sugar" in his own tank...thou protest too much buddy. Honestly whats the issue, you should be flattered when anyone finds you attractive, if you're not adult enough to just say thank you and move on without getting nervous and wanting to hit someone. I agree with Sean Hayes in a sense but I do think seeing epople that are considered "celebrity" politicians, actors, sports stars, etc. "come out" makes that step just a little bit easier for the next generation until we wise up and realize it doesn't really matter.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Chrissie

    Why does anyone feel this compulsive need to tell the world what they do behind closed doors?

    Unless you have a point to prove as in one episode of Will and Grace when Will and Jack do the TV kiss on NBC. That was advancement for the gay movement. Otherwise, just SHUT UP about who and who isn't gay.

    If "Everyone" as our constitution says IS EQUAL, than why do we have the Gay Marriage Ban? Because religion rules government and not the other way around.

    Just let people live their lives without pretense and prejudice. This would be a much better place to live if people were color blind and gender nutural.

    Besides, wasn't Sean married or at least had a female companion that gave birth to his child? I swear I remember him on Ellen, being congratulated for a new baby.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Ann

    As far as I am concerned, your private life is your BIZ. I think you played a great role on Will and Grace. I love that show. It was funny and intertaining. DO YOU, and the heck with what people think. Continue to play great characters. And for str8 outta tx, you should get in tone with the real world.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  38. RockRobster

    I wish the show was still on! One of the funniest sitcoms ever.

    March 9, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Andrea

    Yes, Str8 Outta Tx, what was the point of your post?! That derogatory term has no business being uttered, least of all in a Comment section. And why do people always think that just because someone is gay, they're going to flaunt it all over the place and start coming on to members of the same sex? Futhermore, how can you 'condone' lesbians, but not gay men? The problem is that men think girl-on-girl is hot, whereas seeing two guys together makes them uncomfortable. If I didn't know any better, I would say that guys are more uncomfortable having their masculinity challenged/questioned. Now, that I've gotten that out of the way: More power to you Sean! You don't owe the world anything. If you're straight, you're straight. If you're gay, you're gay. If you don't want to confirm or deny or make any kind of comment on it, you're absolutely entitled to do that! It's your personal life!

    March 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Head Diva In Charge

    Sean Hayes is completely right – what does it matter. As long as he is happy and comfortable with who he is, then it shouldn't matter.

    As for Str8 Outta Tx, you are living in a fantasy world my friend. Gay men probably won't be "come at you wrong" because they know your not gay. And besides, saying that is like saying EVERY women in the world thinks your good looking – i highly doubt that. As for you thinking it's ok for women to like women, it's all in your little porn brain you like that. Gay women generally don't have pillow fights in pink fluffy teddies....sorry.

    March 9, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Wanda

    I am so very grateful you are who you are. Your skill and ability at your craft is great, and I was so grateful to be able to laugh so much. and to think you and the composure to do those scenes with Cher is incredible! I want to see more of your work!! what's coming up?

    March 9, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  42. Heather

    Ok, seriously Str8 Outta Tx, you are a complete idiot. What exactly was the point you were trying to make? That you hate gay men and love gay women? How does that make any sense at all?

    Oh, you are 19. I get it now. Grow up a little bit then you can return to commenting with an opinion that actually means something.

    March 9, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  43. Str8 Outta Tx

    btw, i appologize if i offended anyone in any way. but that is what is real.

    March 9, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  44. Pam

    Thank you Sean. You said in a few short sentences what I have been trying to say for quite some time. Nobody owes anybody any explanation as to who you are or how you live your life. You are amazing and I thank you.

    March 9, 2010 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |

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