Chris Colfer played a gay teen in “Glee” but was warned coming out would “ruin” his career

Chris Colfer played a gay teen in “Glee” but was warned coming out would “ruin” his career
Glee star Chris Colfer Photo: Screenshot The View

Out gay Glee star Chris Colfer wasn’t always so open.

In fact, the 34-year-old’s popular onscreen character from the show, Kurt Hummel, was out before Colfer was.

The actor shared that news and more with the ladies of The View on Tuesday in an appearance promoting the latest installment of his best-selling book series, The Land of Stories.

“I grew up in a very conservative town where being openly gay was dangerous,” Colfer told co-host Whoopi Goldberg and her fellow co-hostesses. “I remember when I got on Glee, the role was written for me, and I didn’t 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.”

While Colfer, then barely 18, was wrestling with his own sexuality, Kurt was too. The character of Kurt struggled with coming out to close friends and loved ones during the first season of the show, which aired from 2009 to 2015. The character also dealt with his crush on high school quarterback and fellow glee club member Finn Hudson (played by Cory Monteith).

But Colfer was advised to keep his own sexuality a secret. 

“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. “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.’” 

Just before the show started airing, however, Colfer had an epiphany — with the help of a young fan.

“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 colors of the rainbow, and in that moment I knew I have to come out.”

“You were an inspiration,” chimed in The View‘s veteran co-hostess Joy Behar.

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

Both Colfer and his character made an impression with the public and his peers. Colfer earned a 2011 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, and won three consecutive People’s Choice Awards for Favorite Comedic TV Actor. He was also nominated twice for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.

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