Danny Roberts | Military | News | Television

Real World's Danny Roberts and Military Boyfriend Split

Danny Roberts and Paul Dill's was a TV relationship half of which was obscured by a blurred oval meant to block identity. On The Real World, a show meant to reveal the inner workings of relationships, the concealed identity merely exposed the U.S. military's sad policy of discrimination against gays.

In the latest issue of The Advocate, Danny Roberts, the Real World: New Orleans cast member whose love affair with Army captain Paul Dill remained achingly private throughout the show's season, tells Jon Barrett the pair's seven-year relationship has ended.

When the Real World finished, Roberts moved to North Carolina to live with Dill, who would be in the military for another two years. Unfortunately, Roberts said that moving in with Dill in secrecy was the beginning of the relationship's 'undoing': "We could not live our lives. We could not be a normal couple. We lived in so much fear. We were forced to live underground."

Roberts said that by the time Dill got out of the military, too much damage to the relationship had already been done. Dill's identity was blurred during the show, but he later made an appearance on MTV in an interview with John Norris.

Thanks to Towleroad correspondent Alan L., we have the rare clip. Enjoy. And let's hope that with a new Congress perhaps we can move forward on getting this discriminatory policy changed.

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. That is such sad news!!!!

    Posted by: Roy | Nov 9, 2006 10:12:45 AM

  2. old news
    these 2 broke things off almost a year ago
    danny hasn't lived in seattle in a long while
    i think he lives in LA now or something

    Posted by: seattle | Nov 9, 2006 10:19:03 AM

  3. Had no idea that Paul was so H-O-T!

    Posted by: brent | Nov 9, 2006 10:20:08 AM

  4. There made a great couple. Too bad they split. It was a heck of a lot of pressure to contend with, though.

    In happier news, my partner and I celebrate 16 years together today! We met November 9, 1990, and haven't looked back since.

    Posted by: Jeff | Nov 9, 2006 10:33:49 AM

  5. Too bad for them.

    I always find it a bit strange when people (gay or straight) talk about their relationship as if it was this entity apart from the two people who are supposed to be in the relationship. It's like the relationship is a house and they just live there. I don't know these guys from a hole in the wall, it just sounds a little detached.

    Posted by: hoya86 | Nov 9, 2006 10:34:07 AM

  6. and why is the news????

    Posted by: rob | Nov 9, 2006 10:39:38 AM

  7. So sorry for them. Hope the military policy changes soon.

    On the other hand, that's two hot men who are now available; I call dibs on Paul!

    Posted by: Joseph | Nov 9, 2006 10:42:39 AM

  8. .......and we should care because?

    Gay men break-up every day, hour, minute, second.... This relationship was never news worthy. It's not like Danny or his boyfriend tried to affect change in the military. To the contrary, they were like little girls giggling about "their" secret. Cute, but somewhat vapid.


    Posted by: Ogden | Nov 9, 2006 10:43:26 AM

  9. This is my biggest beef with Towleroad... we give way too much credit to pointless things around here.

    The Real World: New Orleans did no more to expose the military's discrimination of "don't ask don't tell" than last season did to expose the plight of hurricane victims. If I recall correctly, Paul (or his blurred face) was only in one episode, and Danny was running around making out with other guys at Mardi Gras.

    The Real World (and MTV in general) stopped being relevant ages ago.

    Posted by: chrisb | Nov 9, 2006 10:45:43 AM

  10. I'm sorry, but having just watched that clip you posted I can't help feel that Paul wasn't fooling anyone in the military. His mannerisms give him away.

    Posted by: Bryan Lord | Nov 9, 2006 10:49:47 AM

  11. Thanks for this story, Andy. I remember the show very well. It was riveting and big news (covers of not only gay magazines but mainstream magazines). When Danny came to speak at the college campus near me last year I was in the audience. He gave a great talk, was very nice, and is a great role model for the gay community. I don't understand these snotty "who cares" comments at all. I care very much. I wish both Danny and Paul much happiness in the future and I, for one, thank them for what they do for our community.

    Posted by: Paul Heffley | Nov 9, 2006 10:57:04 AM

  12. Congrats Jeff!

    Posted by: David | Nov 9, 2006 10:58:03 AM

  13. It's easy to fool the military. I did it for 12 years and people said they were shocked, shocked when I came out. People see what they want to see. It's strange, I saw nellie queens and stone butch dykes pass as hetero, but I also saw people investigated for the dreaded homosexuality on the flimsiest of evidence.

    I had my first boyfriend when I was still in the Army and the constant secrecy and my paranoia was a definite strain on the relationship. It's possible to be gay in the military and maintain a relationship, but it's very difficult.

    Posted by: sam | Nov 9, 2006 11:01:24 AM

  14. Actually, Paul was in several episodes, and I personally was very touched by his appearance on the show and I think his fear about being outed was honestly portrayed. I think that Danny's feeling that Paul having to hide in the early part of their relationship is what damaged their relationship is probably a bit trimming the puzzle pieces to fit kind of thinking. I think that two gay men in the same situation living a normal life can definately make that work, and Paul was only in the closet for period of that time. I think the fact that Danny was on the Real World was probably the biggest factor in any problem between them. He became an M-TV public figure involved with all that vapid Post-Real World crap that goes on with most people who go on with that show. The entire psuedo-celebrity world of "Real World/Road Rule" Challenges etc. which as the show's history has proved destroys many relationships these casted young people get involved in.

    Anyway, it is sad that they broke up, as it is with any couple who have been together so long, but that's just life.

    Posted by: Patrick | Nov 9, 2006 11:02:47 AM

  15. Thanks David!

    Posted by: Jeff | Nov 9, 2006 11:04:31 AM

  16. 4 star retired general wesley Clark

    homosexuals should have EQUAL OPPURTUNITIES in the millitary (2003)
    millitary policy on homosexuals is ten years behind(2003)

    remember him when primary season hits (soon)

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Nov 9, 2006 11:07:55 AM

  17. Oh, one more thought. Danny actually cheated on Paul during the show which was fully documented, yet Paul forgave him. I think that just that alone was an equal factor of their starting out on the wrong foot with the entire living in secrecy thing.

    Posted by: Patrick | Nov 9, 2006 11:08:34 AM

  18. What? What?? WHAT????!!! Are you fucking kidding me? You're trying to get me to believe that someone gay was having to hide in the military—that there even WAS an antigay military policy—that someone was talking about it years ago on a hit MTV series and in interviews and on college campus audience all across the country B.R. [BEFORE REICHEN]????!!!! THAT'S what you're trying to get me to believe?! Will you people stop trying to tear Reichen down after he's suffered so much?! While he's devoting every waking minute to fighting DADT at risk to his very life—just ask the F.B.I.?! After he must have sold his Ducati, his yachette, and his two Mercedes, and been forced to move into Lance's studio apartment and live on tap water and Top Ramen so that he can give every cent he makes from his book and his posters and his calendars to SLDN?! Will you jealous bitches leave him alone??!!!

    Posted by: Leland | Nov 9, 2006 11:10:54 AM

  19. Paul was cuter with the military cut and beef. Now I wonder who was the top in that relationship.

    Posted by: BJ | Nov 9, 2006 11:12:21 AM

  20. What does this post have to do with Reichen?

    Posted by: chrisb | Nov 9, 2006 11:14:23 AM

  21. I'm surprised at how unbelievably sad I am because of this, even more so after watching the clip. It's obvious they cared deeply for each other. it's too bad they couldn't make it work. If DADT had even a small part in their breakup, I'm outraged.

    Posted by: PistolPetey | Nov 9, 2006 11:22:15 AM

  22. leland


    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Nov 9, 2006 11:23:50 AM

  23. As I recall Danny had already come out to his family -- who were still dealing with it to varying degrees -- but Paul's family was even more conservative and he wasn't out to them yet. And, Paul Heffley is right. Danny, sometims with Paul, does a lot of speaking -- to the audiences that need it most -- young people still forming their opinions unlike their brain frozen parents and grandparents. I hate to admit it because the length of time implied is so depressing but there's a lot of truth to the statement that we're only going to achieve full equality when the demographic of the majority of voters adequately changes -- in other words, after the dinosaurs die.

    Regardless of what you/we might think of the show, and I have no idea what Real World's ratings are, I betcha a Cosmo that millions of young people still watch it and are having their attitudes about gays influenced by it. Unfortunately, for every Paul (who to be fair was still really young and learning about life himself) or Pedro (God, what a loss!) there's three Dan Renzis. But still I'd take any of those I saw years ago when I would watch it with my much younger cousin, or have read about since, over the messages sent by Carson Kressley whose face unfortunately is NOT blurred and only has to worry about getting kicked out of the men's room at Barney's.

    Posted by: James | Nov 9, 2006 11:30:23 AM

  24. It's some consolation to read in the interview with Danny that he and Paul have remained good friends. They both look like nice people. We all have our human frailties, and it's tough to many any relationship work. My partner and I have been together since March 10, 1991. We're very happy but of course there have been bumpy periods.

    Posted by: Paul | Nov 9, 2006 11:33:46 AM

  25. I guess it's sad, in the same way any long-term relationship ending is.

    I'm not too familiar with either person, but does Danny always have that shit-eating grin on his face? He's kind of annoying to listen to.

    Posted by: ADifferentKevin | Nov 9, 2006 11:43:35 AM

  26. 1 2 3 »

Post a comment


« «Bill Maher Outs Ken Mehlman on Larry King Live« «