Neil Patrick Harris Came Out to Avoid Media Witch Hunt

Neil Patrick Harris appears on Ellen today and tells her that he came out to avoid being outed by the media:

Ellenneil“There was…media scrutiny heading my way. People were starting to ask for stories of other people that may have fooled around with me, and the last thing you want to do is talk about your private life based on scandal. I’m not a very scandalous person and so I didn’t want to have to respond to some story, whether it was lie or truth – so I just made a statement and sort squashed the fires…My life had been relatively open in my world. I’ve been dating the same guy for three years and our families know. We go out together all the time but I just feel like as an actor part of your occupation is retaining a bit of mystery so you can be believable in many different types of roles, so I never felt it was an obligation for me to hold pinkies down the red carpet or anything.”

And as for the response?

“For me that is the greatest ending to the story so far – that nothing really has changed at all. I’m doing nothing different and people aren’t behaving differently towards me. … People heard and they’re like ‘Yeah, and?’ That attitude, I think, was great.”

Harris came out following a gossip item on that mentioned he had arranged for a part on How I Met Your Mother for his “longtime sweetheart” David Burtka.

Soon after, Harris’ publicist reportedly issued a denial, saying Harris wasn’t “of that persuasion”. Several days later, Harris was out.


  1. says

    Do publicists lie compulsively? I mean, do they bark out denials against their will?

    I’m glad he’s out and handling it like an adult. Now it’s time for more actors and actresses to be open. Not to mention silver-haired news presenters and Oscar winning actress/producers.

  2. peterparker says

    I would feel better about this story if he had fired the publicist for claiming that he “wasn’t of that persuasion”. (and by the way…since when do we speak of people being of one ‘persuasion’ of another?…the publicist must’ve been from like 1923 or something.)

  3. Derrick from Philly says

    Let me ask y’all something: you’re a 22 year old actor–just out of drama school(or loafin’ around LA with a pretty face and body). You’ve been told you have the looks to make it Hollywood–not the “legitimate theater” in no money for actors New York, but in Tinsel Town. They think you can make it big as a movie matinee idol–not a supporting or character actor, but a real sex symbol…another Tom Cruise, Richard Gere, Alain Delon, Lawrence Harvey, Dirk Bogard,Tab Hunter, Rock Hudson, Tyrone Power, Cary Grant or maybe even Rudolf Valentino! Why the hell would you want young American women to know they cannot fantasize about you because you are sexually unavailable to women? How can you be a sex symbol to women?

    I don’t believe young gay SCREEN/TV actors WHO DEPEND ON SEX SYMBOL POTENTIAL have to be “out”. I think even my beloved Zeke will disagree with me on this one.

  4. SGR says

    I think you can be out and gay and still be a sex symbol for straight females. The decorator guy on Oprah seems to have a big straight female fan base. I know lots of women who lust after gay men just because they’re hot. It’s all a fantasy anyway, right? They can fantasize that they’re straight just for them.

    Straight men are sex symbols for gay men. The fact that they’re “unavailable” doesn’t mean we can’t lust after them.

    We’re so programmed to come up with self-hating reasons not to come out because it’s painful and we assume bad things will follow. The need for actors to stay closeted so they can be sexually available is just another self-hating bunch of bs. What sex symbols are really available? Straight actors don’t seem to worry about getting married or having relationships, even though that might mean they are not “available” to their fans.

  5. nillachino says

    loving the fact that nph is still doing right by his man, as mr. b. recently replaced michael arden as a lead in a concert version of Rocky Horror that NPH is in.

  6. anon says

    We need a Class of 2006 photo: Roberts, Bass, Harris and Knight. Anyone else that I forgot?

  7. says

    Leave us not forget, NPH survived being a child star. Hollywood is littered with child star roadkill. Those that make it into adulthood alive are rare. Those that make it into adulthood alive and continue to have viable careers are even rarer. In this context coming out for NPH was a walk in the park.

  8. patrick says

    This is not to belittle NPH’s courageous decision to come out but he is not that big of a star…at best, he’s a B-lister and that’s on the boob tube….so he had less to lose. Lesser to lose than…hypothetically of course, Matthew or Tom or Will or Keanu.

  9. Zeke says

    Derrick, sorry, but you would be wrong my friend. :)

    I don’t know why you would think I would disagree with you.

    I can certainly understand why a person in that position would feel the need to, and the pressure to, remain closeted; especially publicly.

    That just wouldn’t work for me and my husband. I guess that’s why we’ll never be famous celebrities. Well, that, and the fact that neither one of us has a lick of acting, singing or performing talent!

    It’s NOT the not telling people I’m gay aspect of being in the closet that I couldn’t handle. That wouldn’t be a big deal. I NEVER tell people I’m gay until they ask anyway. Of course the question comes pretty quickly after I start talking about my husband and my family, which I NEVER shy away from doing. People find out that I’m gay exactly the same way that I find out that they’re straight. It’s the hiding, lying about, and avoiding talking about the love of my life that I couldn’t handle. Nor could I handle it if he hid, lied about, or avoided talking about me. That’s the one aspect of being in the closet that we could never manage.

    That’s no judgment on others; that’s just what works for us, and since it’s worked for over 16 years, I ain’t gonna mess with it. :)

    NP Harris has handled all of this with grace and class. I wish him and his partner all the best.

  10. says

    I like that he at least acknowledges that part of his decsion came from being under recent media scrunitiny. If Perez Hilton hadn’t started stirring things up I doubt Harris would have ever come out officially.

  11. Derrick from Philly says

    Thanks for the response, Zeke.

    I guess I was just doing a preemptive strike against those gay men who are vehement in their belief that gay celebrities/public figures MUST come out the closet–and describing their decision not to out as a form of “self-hate.” They should come out only if they want to, and if they have a conviction that it’s in the best interest of other gay people that they do so. But as long as they are not bashing gay folks to maintain their private life, let them stay in the closet or on the DL.

    It’s funny though, an older gay person reminded me that Rock Hudson’s sexuality was in question while he was still a major star/sex symbol; so, SGR, you may be right that a man can be a sex symbol to women even if they suspect he’s gay. But if I were a young handsome movie actor, I’m not sure I’d want to take that chance–I know my press agent wouldn’t want me to.

    Do any of y’all remember the name William Haines? In the late 1920s, he was the biggest male star at MGM. He wouldn’t stay in the closet. His career was destroyed. ‘Course he was brave enough that it didn’t seem to matter.

  12. Daniel says

    You’re right Patrick. Only big stars should come out from now on.

    It certainly is to belittle him that you bring this up.

  13. Zeke says

    Derrick, for the record, I have never been one of “those gay men…”. I’m not sure why you would think I might be.

    I have NEVER advocated outing people who don’t want to be out; unless they are hypocritically working to harm gay people.

    You may have misunderstood my position on outing because I have said that I think there is a difference between “outing” and “reporting”. One does not necessarily the other, in my opinion.

    Not to beat a dead horse but I’ll give examples, from the SAME source, of a “report” vs. an “outing”.

    In the recent issue of OUT magazine the cover story “The Glass Closet” went on an “outing” rampage with, what I think was an inappropriate story accompanied by an inappropriate cover picture that “outed” Anderson Cooper and Jody Foster. THAT, in my opinion, was pure and simple outing and was low-down and inappropriate.

    On the other hand there was another story, in the same issue, which I think, independent of the other story, should not be considered “outing”. It was the top 50 gay “power” list. Even though I thought the list was stupid, not to mention inaccurate, I didn’t consider including Cooper and Foster in the list, to be outing them. They were simply included in a report that wasn’t sensationalistic and whose purpose wasn’t to expose.

    I know that seems like splitting hairs, but in my opinion, there is a significant difference between the two.

    I also think gay celebrities seem to expect special privileges that aren’t afforded to straight celebrities. It seems a bit hypocritical to ask for privacy for gay celebrities while supporting Entertainment Tonight and The National Enquirer when they tell every detail about straight celebrities’ private lives. That’s just an observation, not an endorsement of “outing”.

  14. Derrick from Philly says

    Happy Birthday, Zeke! Sincerely, from your postings, I thought there was too much wisdom there for a man only 40 years old. And you’re far too nice to be an Aries…Ooops, I mean, both Crawford and Davis, were Aries, I think. I’m a Pisces–we’re sweet, kind, and very sexually pliable due to substance abuse.

  15. Zeke says

    Thanks for the kind words Derrick. You’re a real sweetheart.

    I’m actually on the cusp.

    Half of the charts say I’m Aries, half say I’m Taurus.

    The husband says I’m the worst of both and the best of neither!

    FEEL the love!

  16. Patrick says

    It is what it is Daniel. I’m sure NPH would agree with me that coming out of the closet would not have been an option had he been a bigger and more visible star. Same goes with TR and Lance.

    It is what it is.