Many have criticized Hayes for “coming out” later in life and not during the height of his “Will & Grace” fame.
In a 2010 interview with The Advocate, Hayes discussed his frustration, especially with the gay media and specifically The Advocate, for “shoot[ing] the gay guy down” because he continually refused to confirm what everyone already knew — he is gay.
In the LA Times interview from Sunday’s paper, Hayes said he was overwhelmed by the success of “Will & Grace” and felt forced back into the closet.
From the LA Times story:
“Will & Grace” was controversial in the beginning, and your character, Jack, was accused of being “too gay.” When did you realize the tide was turning?
I was so young. It made me go back in the closet [with the media] because I was so overwhelmed at 26 or 27. I didn’t want the responsibility, I didn’t know how to handle the responsibility of speaking for the gay community. I always felt like I owed them a huge apology for coming out too late. Some people in the gay community were very upset with me for not coming out on their terms. They don’t stop to think about what’s going on in somebody’s personal life, and the struggles that they’re having. It was all very scary. We got death threats. It was a really rough time for me, but I was also having the time of my life.