Many fans were left wondering when Colton Haynes, who portrayed Roy Harper on The CW‘s Arrow TV series, abruptly left the show during its third season. Colton, who started out as a recurring character on Season 1 of Arrow, was upgraded to a series regular on Season 2, and fans thought he would become a permanent part of the series. Now, Colton opens up about his mental breakdown during those years, his anxiety attacks, and instances when he fainted on set.
Colton Haynes, now 28-years-old, had a very busy year. A year ago he publicly came out as gay, and last March he got engaged to celebrity floral designer Jeff Leatham, after an emotional proposal that involved fireworks at the beach and a clip featuring singer Cher. But while things are looking up now, two years ago Colton was at a low point in his personal life.
Speaking with Huffington Post, Colton explains that when he left Arrow, it was first and foremost about taking some time off to figure things out. Having started his role on MTV’s Teen Wolf when he was only 21-years-old, and then moving straight ahead to Arrow without stopping, has led to a mental breakdown for him.
“My anxiety was so bad that I couldn’t even go to work. It really was so debilitating that I would faint at work. I would literally not be able to speak because I was so nervous. I had to get ahold of that before I could come back and do stuff. They were all so, so amazing and saw me crumbling.”
Colton’s anxiety and breakdown also had a lot to do with having to stay in the closet as a gay man. In an interview with Andy Cohen on his SiriusXM radio show, Colton reveals that during the early years of his career, he was pressured not to come out, being told that he would never work in Hollywood if he were openly gay. And in order to keep the facade of him being straight going, his managers used to set him up with fake celebrity girlfriends.
“They tried to set me up with girls. I was rumored to date Lauren Conrad for six months because they were angling a story. The girls knew the whole time, it was like a Tab Hunter situation.”
Tab Hunter is an American actor, mostly known for the films he starred in during the 50’s and 60’s. Being gay (which he later confessed to in his autobiography, published in 2005), he was forced by the studio heads at the time to help promote fake stories about alleged romantic relationships he was in, with actresses such as Natalie Wood.
Similarly, and so many years later, Colton Haynes was pressured into creating these fake romances as well.
“I would be at a party,” Colton recalls, “There was this whole story that ran with Lauren Conrad, who I love – she’s the best. Basically my old manager at the time was like, ‘Oh, take a picture with her.’ He just basically ran this story trying to say that I was dating Lauren Conrad.”
Eventually, in May 2016, Colton replaced his manager – and came out publicly in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Colton explained that, to his family and friends, he was out for many years – but it was time to come out publicly.
“I felt like I was letting people down”, he said of the years he was still in the closet, and the hardships of hiding who you are. “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.”
With his “secret” now out, and his personal life in a good place with his engagement, things are looking up for Colton. His latest movie, Rough Night, opens up on June 16.
[Featured Image by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images]