Colton Haynes made his mark with Teen Wolf, playing the quintessential bully. Haynes played the bully, Jackson Whittemore, so well that it was often difficult to separate the actor from the character. Colton has since moved on and achieved further success as Roy Harper, aka Arsenal, on Arrow, but it was perhaps his experiences on Teen Wolf that allowed him to appreciate the duality in his own life and his eagerness to end the secrecy that comes with keeping half of one’s identity hidden in the closet.
Arrow Star Colton Haynes Was Familiar With Leading A Double Life
On Teen Wolf, Haynes played a jock turned chimera, a supernatural shapeshifter, and in Arrow, Colton also played a character with two identities, so even while at work, the actor was playing a person with secrets. He lived with the secrets of his characters on screen and behind the camera, the actor was still acting, pretending to be something he was not just to keep up the persona he thought everyone else wanted to see. Over time, Colton says he began to feel the effects of living a lie. The Arrow actor says it all came crashing down on him eventually, placing his health and well-being in jeopardy.
“I asked to step away because I cared more about my mental and physical health than my career at the time,” Haynes says of his break from acting. “I’ve had terminal anxiety my entire life. Physically ill, fainting. I’m 27 years old, and I have an ulcer. I had to step back.”
In attempting to describe his own situation, Colton reveals a situation that most, if not all, of those within the LGBT community have been familiar with at one time or another. Haynes describes the duality of being gay and having to present himself as straight out of the fear of losing family and friends, sabotaging his own career, and worse. In trying to keep up pretenses, Haynes describes a lifetime of acting that, over time, becomes exhausting and frustrating.
“People want you to be that GQ image that you put out, but people don’t realize what it’s like to act 24 hours a day. I’d go home and I was still acting,” Colton said. “People who are so judgmental about those who are gay or different don’t realize that acting 24 hours a day is the most exhausting thing in the world.”
Colton Haynes Comes Out As Gay And His Fans Love Him For It
Haynes is more than just a rising name in Hollywood. The teen actor has achieved online fame that may far exceed the success he’s achieved on television with an Instagram following of four million. In fact, Colton has established himself as a powerful presence across several social media platforms. Unlike most celebrities, Colton actually interacts with those followers and fans whenever he can, and it that can be both a self-imposed blessing and a curse.
One example of Haynes’ popularity came this past Halloween with his experimentation with holiday costumes. He says his followers were more than a little impressed but that nearly all of them supposed he had a machine to create his masterpieces. Nothing could be further from the truth. Colton reveals that he created each of the costumes with his own hands.
Colton again made headlines with his social media presence when one Tumblr fan shared items relating to his “secret gay past,” which in turn gave rise to an online controversy that seemed boundless. It was Haynes who ultimately put an end to the questions and rumors when he confirmed what so many of his fans had been pondering.
“Was it a secret,” Haynes commented to the original blog poster.
“It was a complete shock,” the Teen Wolf actor says of his online confession. “I wasn’t ready to be back in the headlines. I should have made a comment or a statement, but I just wasn’t ready. I didn’t feel like I owed anyone anything.”
As Colton learned from the experience, sometimes it’s best to rip the bandage off without dwelling on the consequences. As it turned out, the situation resolved itself, and the actor learned that his fans were loyal and still adored him. Possibly, Haynes’ followers might love him that much more for his honesty. As for Colton, he’s feeling relieved that the truth is out, and he says he’s come to a good place in his life thanks to his impromptu revelation.
“It took me so long to get to this point, but I’m doing so good,” said Haynes. “I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and healthier than I’ve ever been, and that’s what I care about.”
Colton Haynes has since reprised his Arrow role and has a new film, Triumph, in the works.
[Image by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]