Glee’s Chris Colfer says he was told to ‘not come out’ during show as it would ‘ruin career’

Chris Colfer has revealed that he was advised to not disclose his sexuality while filming the first season of Glee.

The actor played the openly gay character Kurt Hummel on the musical series from 2009 to 2015. Viewers watched as the character struggled to come to terms with his sexuality; at the time, Colfer himself had not publicly come out.

During an appearance on The View, Colfer, 34, discussed his own fear of coming out as gay after scoring a leading role in the series, and revealed that people around him advised him to never address his own sexuality.

“I grew up in a very conservative town where being openly gay was dangerous,” Colfer said on the show.

“I remember when I got on [Glee] the role was written for me, and I did not know what the role was gonna be, and so I opened the script and when I read the script for the first time was when I saw that it was an openly gay character and I was terrified.”

Colfer, who eventually won several awards for his portrayal of Kurt, revealed that he was previously told that coming out would “ruin his career”, and that he felt he had to hide his sexuality.

“When I started filming the show I had a lot of people tell me, ‘Do not come out whatever you do because it will ruin your career.’ So I hid for a little bit,” he said.

Colfer recalled being told that coming out would ‘ruin’ his career (Getty Images)
Colfer recalled being told that coming out would ‘ruin’ his career (Getty Images)

“But I also told them, ‘I can’t hide it with my voice… I’m more effeminate than most people. I can’t hide it.’ And they said, ‘Don’t worry. As long as you never address it, you’ll be rewarded for it in the end.’”

The actor, who has since gone on to have roles in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie and Julie’s Greenroom, remembered noticing the positive impact his character’s storyline had on viewers, which eventually encouraged him to publicly come out later in 2009.

“We went on this big poster signing tour right before the show came out, and this little boy secretly slid me an envelope when his parents weren’t looking and I opened it up and it was a little note that said, ‘Thank you,’” he recalled. “And there was a little paperclip chain that was the colours of the rainbow, and in that moment I knew I have to come out.”

‘Glee’ stars Colfer and Heather Morris performing in 2010 (Getty Images)
‘Glee’ stars Colfer and Heather Morris performing in 2010 (Getty Images)

He continued: “At the time, I was thinking, ‘OK, yeah, if I’m an openly gay actor, yeah, I may never win a major award. I may never get to play a superhero. But I think being a beacon of positivity and providing that comfort for people is way more important than attention.”

Colfer went on to win 2011 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, for his portrayal of Kurt on Glee, and won three consecutive People’s Choice Awards for favourite comedic TV actor.