Earlier this year, former Disney and King Cobra star (yes, it’s a bit strange putting those two in the same sentence) Garrett Clayton came out as gay, revealing on social media that he’s on a long-term relationship with Blake Knight.
Now, in an upcoming interview with Gay Times, Garrett explains why he didn’t come out during his King Cobra days, talks about his family’s negative reaction to him being gay, and how for years he had to “play it straight” in Hollywood, being asked to act “more masculine.”
27-year-old Garrett Clayton first made a name for himself as a Disney channel star, on the Teen Beach Movie series, where he played along Ross Lynch. In 2016, Garrett ditched the Disney persona, and starred in gay porn biopic King Cobra, based in part on the life of gay porn star Brent Corrigan.
“The decision to come out was finally feeling comfortable as me. I just felt like, ‘OK, I’m finally ready to do this'”, Garrett tells Gay Times in an upcoming cover interview. “I think that’s the most important thing to take away from this is that everyone has to do it when they feel comfortable.
“If you let someone push you into something like this it can be harmful if you’re not ready. That’s something I experienced personally during King Cobra, where it felt like a lot of journalists wanted me to come out, but I wasn’t ready.”
A few years ago, he came out to his family – and had to endure negative reactions. His father screamed at him, saying how he “hates” the fact that his son his gay. And things weren’t any better with Clayton’s brother.
“A few years ago, when same-sex marriage was legalised, my brother was furious, and he went online posting about how the American flag was gonna be a rainbow soon, like, ‘What’s happening to America?’.
And I remember seeing that and thinking, ‘You have a gay brother, you idiot!’
So I went on his Facebook like, ‘So wait a minute, you’re telling me that there can be someone you care about in your life, who wants to impede nothing on yours, and just wants the same rights as you, and you would take that away from them?’
And then he blocked me.
If my brother wants to reconnect with me, I welcome it wholeheartedly. I’m a big believer in people learning from their mistakes. But not every story gets a happy ending.”
Perhaps surprisingly, the homophobia continued in Hollywood. “One of the first things somebody who was instrumental in starting my career did, they sat me down and they said, ‘Are you gay?’ And I could feel the pressure of the question, so I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m gay, or bi, or whatever’.
They looked at me and said, ‘No one wants to fuck the gay guy, they want to go shopping with him, so we’re going to have to figure this out.’
It turned into this situation where I’d get calls and they’d say, ‘You still need to butch it up’. I literally had to change everything about myself at that point, otherwise I was never gonna make it.”
The full interview will be available on the November issue of Gay Times, coming out October 31.