'Bridgerton' 's Jonathan Bailey Reveals He Once Felt Pressure to Hide His Sexuality for His Career

"I reached a point where I thought, 'F— this,'" Jonathan Bailey said of his decision to come out as gay

Jonathan Bailey
Photo: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis/Getty

Jonathan Bailey has been very open about his sexuality — but that wasn't always the case.

The 33-year-old Bridgerton star, who portrays Anthony Bridgerton on the Netflix hit, opened up about his experience coming out as gay in a new profile with GQ.

Thinking back to the early days of his career, Bailey recalled how one of his actor friends was once told during pilot season, "There's two things we don't want to know: if you're an alcoholic or if you're gay."

The anecdote was shared with Bailey and ultimately stuck with him, leading him to conceal his sexuality for the sake of his career.

"All it takes is for one of those people in that position of power to say that, and it ripples through," he explained. "So, yeah, of course I thought that. Of course I thought that in order to be happy I needed to be straight."

However, in his early 20s, Bailey decided to come out to his family and friends. For him, his happiness was of the utmost importance.

"I reached a point where I thought, 'F— this,'" he said. "I'd much prefer to hold my boyfriend's hand in public or be able to put my own face picture on Tinder and not be so concerned about that than getting a part."


Since joining the cast of Bridgerton, Bailey has become a heartthrob, appealing to both male and female viewers. But the English actor said he isn't quite fond of using such terminology to describe himself.

"Any actor who thinks they're a sex symbol? Cringe," he told the magazine.

Season 2 of Bridgerton will be focused on Anthony Bridgerton's love story, as he becomes entangled in a love triangle with sisters Kate and Edwina Sharma, played by Simone Ashley and Charithra Chandran. The plotline differs from the debut season, which followed Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset's (Regé-Jean Page) romance.

Speaking to GQ, Bailey said playing Anthony forced him to "think about love a lot."

"You put your life experiences into [the work]," he explained. "What's most interesting is not necessarily having to talk about what that is, and keeping a sense of privacy."

RELATED VIDEO: Bridgerton Renewed for Seasons 3 and 4 at Netflix

Though Bailey's Bridgerton character identifies as straight, the actor has previously argued that gay men should be able to play their own experiences on the screen.

"I think it shouldn't matter at all what character people play, but of course, there is a narrative that's very clear, that openly gay men aren't playing straight in leading roles," he told Digital Spy in December 2020. "And also, there's a reason why gay characters are so interesting. Because much like the women in Bridgerton, there are a lot of hurdles and there's a lot of self-growth, and there's a real strength to gay men."

Bailey continued, "So the fact that a lot of straight men have gone on to play iconic gay roles and to be lauded for that is fantastic, that that story is being told. But wouldn't it be brilliant to see gay men play their own experience?"

Bridgerton returns for its second season on March 25 on Netflix.

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