Colton Haynes is not only talented and successful, he’s gorgeous and has a heart of gold. The actor/model originally from Kansas scored roles in Teen Wolf and Arrow and will soon be a regular on Scream Queens; his resume so far is impressive. While he’s in a good place right now, his road to success was anything but an easy ride.
Colton’s upbringing was, put simply, quite rough. From being bullied for his sexuality after he came out at 14 – recognizing he was gay in first grade – his older brother had to protect him from physical violence in school. His mom wasn’t sure how to handle his sexuality and his defense mechanism was to rebel, so much so that he left home and lived in a friend’s closet, it was there that he received news that his father took his own life by swallowing 40 oxycodone pills.
Colton felt responsible for his father’s death and after being told that the reason his father took his life was because of Colton’s sexuality, he’d had enough. Colton ran away to live with his sister in Florida and followed her to Texas as she moved with the military. Texas was Colton’s most positive life experience and his high school sweetheart stayed his boyfriend after graduation. As a matter of fact, he did a photoshoot with XY with the boyfriend, each earning a couple thousand dollars, and moved to Los Angeles with him to find a new start.
Colton did get to LA, but as soon as he landed his first major role his team went into overdrive trying to cover up traces of his XY photoshoot and make him seem as heterosexual as possible. Colton was facing harsh opinions from people who called him a hypocrite and judged him harshly, going as far as to call him homophobic. Colton couldn’t speak up, he couldn’t live his truth, so he had to bow his head and try to stay strong while his team tried to change him into a person he wasn’t.
“I looked like I was fucking gay-bashing, like I hated myself or I hated the gays, which was never the intention at all. I was just young and trying to make it in this town and doing what these people were telling me to do.”
It didn’t stop there, in reality, it got worse as his manager dropped him when he found out about Colton’s sexuality and “told him to advertise on RentBoy.com, an escort website, as a way to earn money”. During this time he also found out that his love interest of six years had been cheating on him – it felt like everything was falling apart.
Alongside misrepresentation from the start, Colton also felt like he had no one who he could confide in, not just concerning his sexuality but in his struggles dealing with anxiety and depression as well. While in the ‘closet’ and even after Colton “came out”, he’s been accused of everything from having ‘champagne problems’ to still being too afraid to embrace his sexuality.
One of these instances came from Noah Galvin when Colton’s first “out” interview happened and the writer composed it differently than Colton not only wanted but deserved. Noah said Colton’s coming out “was bullshit”
I said I was gay, like, 50 times during that interview, that’s just not the way they chose to print it. I would never try to hold that back, especially for my first out interview.
Colton says he can’t speak on Galvin because he doesn’t know him, but he could see why someone would have judged that interview so harshly. Colton couldn’t catch a break and there is nothing worse than trying desperately to be your own person and live freely and having so many people try to navigate your life in their own best interest.
Colton isn’t the first, and unfortunately won’t be the last, person in Hollywood who has spoken out about being closeted and having to hide their truth. While some find management, teams, and support systems from the beginning that not only accept, but encourage them to embrace who they are; too often young people in the industry are told that the only way to bring in fans and stay in the spotlight is to ooze (heterosexual) sex appeal.
“I feel really bad that I had to lie for so long but I was told that was the only way I was going to be successful. When you’re young in this industry, people take advantage of you, and they literally tell you that your dreams are going to come true. If you believe that, you’ll do anything. And you do believe it, especially if you’re from Kansas.”
Colton admits he doesn’t “hook up” or get involved in relationships often, as a matter of fact, he says he’s only gone on about two dates in two years but his dreams of having children and getting his happy ending are still as real as ever. After having his heart broken and living for so long being shoved into molds of himself that other people found suitable, Colton just wants to make sure the next time, he does it right, and spending some time alone now not only helps him to not only love himself but to acknowledge the type of real and true love he’s deserving of in the future.
Colton’s honesty has made some of the fans who, at first, judged him harshly rethink their original opinions of him and for his longtime fans, it gave them more reasons to love him. We think Colton’s bravery is important not just for himself, but for anyone in Hollywood who is currently struggling with the same things or may be dreaming of bright lights and be too afraid to try due to their own sexuality.
Colton will be on the cover of Out Magazine in September alongside handsome photos and more of his personal journey.