Known best for his role as Caleb Rivers in Pretty Little Liars as well as the spin-off series Ravenswood, Tyler Blackburn recently opened up about his sexuality revealing he is bisexual.
According to The Advocate, it was his role of Caleb in the Fox Family/Freeform series that turned him into a heartthrob for teenage girls across the globe. In fact, his role in Pretty Little Liars landed him three Teen Choice Awards including two for Best Male TV Star and one for Best Chemistry thanks to his role as Ashley Benson’s on-screen boyfriend.
It, however, is his role as Sgt. Alex Manes in The CW’s Roswell, New Mexico who Blackburn relates to most. For those who are unfamiliar with The CW series, Alex is a gay war veteran and amputee who struggles with a number of issues including immigration, PTSD, and being homosexual.
Speaking to The Advocate, Blackburn reveals the struggles of accepting his sexual identity while growing up in Los Angeles. According to Tyler, he was picked on for having been feminine. Referring to himself as a “late bloomer,” he described his childhood and teenage years as dark and gloomy. He recalled becoming overwhelmed with feelings of “self-hatred and shame.”
“I just felt like my soul was slowly being taken from me,” he continued to explain.
Blackburn, however, has reached a happier and more open point in his life where he’s realized he no longer cares what people think about him. He’s decided he wants to live a life “as free as possible,” and that started with coming out of the closet about his sexuality.
He added as he continued to open up: “I’ve identified as bisexual since a teenager. I just want to feel powerful in my own skin, and my own mind, and in my own heart.”
While Blackburn did have a few long-term relationships with women during his 20’s, he admitted to feeling deeply curious about being with a man as he didn’t feel completely satisfied by his previous relationships.
The actor also opened up about being pressured by both sides of the community as some people feel as if being bisexual is just a “cop-out.”
It was toward the end of the production of Pretty Little Liars that Blackburn stopped suppressing his interests in being with men and started to experience what it felt and meant to be bisexual.
“I’m so tired of caring so much. I just want to live my truth and feel OK with experiencing love and experiencing self-love. Yes, there is an element of, I want to feel like it’s OK to hold my boyfriend’s hand as I’m walking down the street, and not worry. Is someone going to look and be like, ‘Whoa, is that guy from that show?'” Blackburn explained as he opened up about why he decided to go public about his sexuality.
On social media, Tyler has been met with nothing but love and support. Many fans took to Twitter to point out that Blackburn’s announcement just made him more perfect for the role of Alex in Roswell.
Others echoed a gay actor playing a gay character was exactly what they wanted to see more of.
the fact that tyler blackburn is bisexual and playing a gay character in roswell nm makes me so happy, more lgbt people in lgbt roles pls!!— kate (@spellmanbane) April 20, 2019
Some claimed that they didn’t find the news too shocking as they always had a sneaking suspicion he was either bisexual or gay.
Tyler blackburn came out as bi and tbh I always had the feeling he was— Emily (@Emilyrenee_13) April 19, 2019
Pretty Little Liars fans agreed the reveal just made them love the relationship between Blackburn and Benson’s characters that much more because Ashley is also openly bisexual.
ashley benson and tyler blackburn both being bisexual really making Haleb THAT ship!! pic.twitter.com/WAIAhx5LoP— -stacey???? (@malexcamerons) April 19, 2019
tyler blackburn and ashley benson both being proudly out as queer in 2019 is a dream come true— ????????????????????????’???? ???????????????????? | GoT spoilers (@raulson_) April 19, 2019
Blackburn even had some of his 7.2 million followers take to his latest post on Instagram to praise him for coming out of the closet. One user, who commented just a few hours ago, wished they could be as brave as Tyler one day.
You can catch Tyler Blackburn in new episodes of Roswell, New Mexico airing on Tuesday nights or streaming via The CW website. All episodes of Pretty Little Liars are available for streaming on Netflix.