After nurturing a Hollywood career for 14 years, one that has seen him star in Firefly, Serenity and, most recently, NBC's The Playboy Club, Sean Maher has decided to stop living the lie that he himself has helped perpetuate and come out as a gay man.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the 36-year-old Maher revealed that a select few of his Hollywood acquaintances knew the secret that he'd been keeping since he graduated from NYU and moved to L.A. to star in a short-lived Fox cop show, Ryan Caulfield: Year One:
"I'm 22, I move to L.A., and it's such a cliché, but the day I arrive, publicists from the show took me out to The Ivy for lunch... They're telling me, 'You know, gosh, we'd really appreciate it if you could keep your girlfriend on the side because we want to appeal to the female demographic of the show.'... At that moment, I didn't think to say, 'Oh, I'm gay,' because right before I left New York, I had my manager tell me: 'You need to get a girl on your arm or people will start talking.' I remember telling him: 'I'm gay.' He had no idea. And he said: 'All the more reason to get a girl on your arm.' My agent was also like, 'It's best if you keep your options open. Maybe bisexual?'"
Since then, Maher kept the truth from most of his coworkers, including the ones on the Joss Whedon show for which he's best known:
"Looking back, on Firefly for instance, I do wish on day one I had told them because these are some of the most amazing people who are still like family to me... I am so grateful for that show because they saved me. I was so unhappy and lonely and to come to work everyday with that group was wonderful. It really was all I had at that point in my life."
Today, he's got a longtime partner and two young children, Sophia and Liam, and those friends on Firefly rallied behind him as he shared the news today: