He’s escaped from the slammer during his time on Prison Break, but for actor Wentworth Miller, it was coming out of the closet that proved much more difficult.
In his smoldering cover for Out Magazine‘s Out 100 list, Miller discussed his year in the spotlight as he officially came out as gay and opened up about a suicide attempt at age 15.
In August, the actor came out in a letter graciously declining an invitation to a Russian film festival, amidst news of the country’s anti-gay legislation (read his powerful letter here).
“Like everyone, I’d been reading reports online about what was happening in Russia,” Miller explained to Out. “So when the invitation arrived, I thought, There is no way I can say yes. Then it occurred to me that if I made my response public, it might help draw additional attention to the situation. It felt like the right move at the right time.”
Miller made headlines again this September when he revealed a dark secret about his struggles as a closeted teen. During the Human Rights Campaign Gala in Seattle, he stated, “Growing up I was a target. Speaking the right way, standing the right way, holding your wrist the right way.” Under the mounting social pressure he was facing, Miller “swallowed a bottle of pills” when his family was away for the weekend.
“I had multiple opportunities to speak my truth, which is that I was gay, but I chose not to. I was out privately to family and friends – publicly, I was not,” he admitted. “I chose to lie – when I thought about the possibility of coming out, how that might impact me and the career I worked so hard for, I was filled with fear.”
When asked what the 41-year-old would now say to his 15-year-old self, Miller had some heartfelt words of encouragement to share:
I’d say, ‘What you think of as scars are medals. They’re badges of honor, testifying to something inside you that is determined and tenacious and enduring.’ That’s why when someone who knows my story approaches me with a ‘poor you’ attitude, my response is, ‘Don’t feel sorry for me. Because I know what it is to be tested…And I’m stronger for it.’
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the sound of my heart melting into a lifeless pool. Thank you, Wentworth Miller, for your permanent smolder-face, and your understated strength and eloquence.
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