Luke Evans has denied speculation that he went back into the closet in an effort to boost his film career.
The gay actor came out publicly in 2002, but he later kept his private life mostly to himself, leading some to speculate that he was deliberately hiding his sexuality in an effort to win film roles.
But Evans has vehemently denied the claims, telling Attitude magazine that they were “not true”.
Speaking about his private life, Evans said: “It was the last thing I had, because everything else I’ve given to the world.”
“My career was public, I was photographed and all that stuff. My personal life just became the last thing that I had.
“Also, what was strange was that when people did find out that I was gay, there was a lot of articles and stuff written saying that I was hiding it, and I wasn’t.”
Luke Evans struggled to accept his sexuality as a gay teenager
Luke Evans said he struggled to come to terms with his sexuality while growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, and said he was forced to leave home at 16 in order to explore his identity.
“There were a lot of bullies in my school, and I was an easy target,” he said. “I needed to find my identity, and I needed to be independent of my family, find my voice and be a happy, gay teenager.”
I am proud and happy, and I’ve lived a very big life that I’m super happy with. And I’ve never been ashamed.
The actor said speculation he had hidden his sexuality for professional gain was upsetting given the challenges he faced in his teenage years.
“I just wanted to get online and I wanted to pick up the phone and say, ‘Do you realise I left home at 16 because I was gay?’ I went into the world as a kid, because I had to.
“I am proud and happy, and I’ve lived a very big life that I’m super happy with. And I’ve never been ashamed.
“And now all of a sudden I was being treated in this way and it was a scary moment because I was like, ‘Oh God, this is horrible. This is not true. None of this is true.'”
Evans has recently opened up about his relationship with his boyfriend, Rafa Olarra. In July, he shared a selfie of himself and Olarra and urged his 2.7 million followers to be their authentic selves.
“Always try and be the best, most authentic version of yourself,” he said.
“Hold that person tight. Smile, breathe deep, stand tall and be proud.”