Danny Pintauro, who’s best known for his role as little Jonathan Bower on popular 1980s sitcom Who’s the Boss? revealed a 12-year-old secret during his “Where Are They Now” interview with Oprah Winfrey, the Daily Mail reports.
He is HIV positive.
“I wanted to tell you this a long time ago,” Danny told Oprah. “But I wasn’t ready. I’m ready now, I’m HIV-positive and I have been for 12 years.”
During the interview, Danny shared that now that his secret is out, he’s ready to be an activist for the LGBT community.
“I missed the opportunity to be a beacon of light for gay kids who were going through what I was going through,” he said.
Danny was outed in 1992 when he was pushed into giving an interview to the National Enquirer about his sexual orientation. According to Danny, the reporter threatened that they would publish the article with or without his involvement.
Judith Light, who played his mother on Who’s the Boss? encouraged Danny to tell his story to the world. These were her words of wisdom.
“They can’t misquote you, she said. And as long as you give really responsible and mature answers, it can’t be a bad article.”
His HIV positive status wasn’t the only revelation Danny shared in his interview with Oprah. Later, he talked about his addiction to crystal meth and how it’s linked to his exposure to HIV.
“I was doing crystal meth, which completely ruins your immune system,” he said. “I had just come out of a two-year relationship and I discovered in that relationship that there was more I wanted to explore sexually. Crystal meth takes away your inhibitions. I was experimenting and believe it or not, I thought I was being safe in that encounter.”
Danny says he is now more committed than ever to talk about the reality of HIV with other gay men. He wants to encourage them to be responsible about their health.
‘It’s just a big deal, you know? It’s not something that people are really talking about right now.’
Danny echoed that sentiment in a recent interview with People Magazine.
“I am speaking out because I want everyone who continues to ‘tweak’ and party to know that it is not worth the price,” Pintauro told People. “I want my community to wake up, stop being complacent and start taking care of each other. We need to be the best we can – safe and healthy.”
[Photo via Youtube screen shot]