Jim Parsons came out publicly in 2012. In a New York Times article about his performance in The Normal Heart, Parsons mentioned he related to the material because he is gay. The Big Bang Theory star had been out privately prior to that, but even his private coming out came in stages.
Parsons was a guest on the HFPA In Conversation podcast on Sept. 23 to promote his Netflix film adaptation of The Boys in the Band. He spoke about his own coming out to his family, and why he put off telling his mother for some time.
Before ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ Jim Parsons had his own acting community
The Big Bang Theory was not Parsons’ first job, and he was out with his theater friends. For a time, he felt supported enough by those he told.
“I had been able to push it off because partly the age I was growing up in, the years in which I could not have cared less,” Parsons said. “I just didn’t consciously see the hole in my life by not having my family in on my sexuality. All my friends knew, any coworkers knew, any employers. I never was hiding it in my daily life that I could see.”
Jim Parsons met someone before ‘The Big Bang Theory’ that changed things
Parsons met Todd Spiewak in 2002, also before The Big Bang Theory was even an idea in Chuck Lorre’s head. They are now married, but once their relationship got serious, Parsons wanted to share Spiewak with his family.
“Then I met Todd and it became so clear to me that it was very important I share him and my feelings for him with my family,” Parsons said. “Family’s very important to me, both my family I was born into and my family I’ve accumulated over the years in friendships and things like that. To not be able to talk about my experiences with Todd with my mother [would be hard.]”
Telling his mother was still a challenge
Having put it off for so long, Parsons acknowledged that coming out to his mother was a challenge.
“I had really straddled the fence with that,” Parsons said. “I had managed to keep away from having that hard conversation, what I feared would be a hard conversation and was. I’m not throwing anybody in my family under the bus but it was not fun, I’ll be honest.”
Parsons was sympathetic to his mother. Her background gave her negative connotations of the LGBTQ community, so her son was her first real exposure.
Whatever she did or didn’t suspect about my own sexuality going forward, just to have to hear me say it and all the worries and fears I’m sure that brought up for her… Look, she was a 20-year-old when a play like Boys in the Band came out, and in the south. She was very steeped in the negative perceptions, the hard, horrible life it could mean to claim your homosexuality. I think that was really hard for her to officially hear that her own child was going to claim it. What she didn’t know, because I hadn’t shared it with her, was that I was already living my life very successfully. I had found love. It was the whole reason I was coming to her [but] it wasn’t like immediate rainbows and lollipops. It was some adjusting.
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