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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > December 2018 > Making Hayes while the sun shines

Making Hayes while the sun shines

Sean Hayes tells Attitude about going from being made to feel ashamed about being gay to being happily married, and why the time was right for the return of Will & Grace

Sean Hayes

Sean Hayes leans forward and looks reflective, even a little sad. He’s explaining why he didn’t come out in public during the original run of Will & Grace.

“It was a scary time. We got death threats, [people] could find out where I lived, and I was playing a gay character in a big hit show. I was too scared.”

There’s a pause, then he goes on, “I wasn’t looking to be an activist of any kind. I didn’t have the courage and the strength at such a young age to speak on behalf of the gay community.”

We’re sitting in the lounge area of a photo studio, where Sean has spent the past two hours having his picture taken for the cover of Attitude. During the shoot he’s been charming and fun, bouncing around with a smile on his face and an energy that makes him seem much younger than 48. There are none of the snide asides sometimes delivered by his character Jack, although Sean is very self-aware and can turn on lashes of his alter ego when he wants to.

Sean wears shirt, by Levi’s, top, by David Gandy for Autograph, trousers, by Adriano Goldschmied at Selfridges, glasses, Sean’s own

When we sit down to chat, though, things get serious. Knowing that his public coming out as a gay man is a sensitive subject, I decide not to ask about that at first. Instead, we begin by discussing the popularity of the rebooted Will & Grace, in which he reprises the role of lamboyant failed actor Jack McFarland.

The return of the show was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. And little wonder: the writing is exceptional, the performances sharper than ever, and the comedy is much more sexually forthright than during its original eight-series run, with much more political bite.

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About Attitude

Double cover special! Will & Grace star Sean Hayes, plus the world’s biggest girl band Little Mix. Also in this issue: Milan Christopher, Billy Eichner, and more.