Dan Amboyer has always kept his sexuality a private matter. But when the Younger actor got engaged to longtime boyfriend Eric P. Berger, he decided it was time to come out as gay.
“Being a young actor in the industry, I had a lot of people who strongly advised me to stay quiet,” Amboyer tells PEOPLE. “That was hard to live with. But I’ve never played a gay role before and I didn’t want to be limited by some strange perception.”
So as he found Hollywood success, he kept quiet about his decade-long relationship with financial planner Eric P. Berger.
“When I went to work on a new show or film, there was always a process of letting people know,” explains Amboyer, who plays twins Thad and Chad on TV Land’s Younger and scored a recurring role on The Blacklist: Redemption.
But on Saturday — in front of 115 family and friends — Amboyer, 31, wed Berger, 37, in New York City and is opening up for the first time publicly about his relationship.
“It was a hard decision to figure out how to approach it in a public way,” says Amboyer. “There are some actors out there now who just keep it as an unspoken aspect of their life and never discuss it in public. But then there are men like Matt Bomer and Zachary Quinto. I look up to them and see how them being so open affected other people and the country’s perception of gay people. And Nico Tortorella, who is also on Younger, has inspired me by the way he’s become such an advocate for sexual fluidity. I think the more open actors can be the less stigma there will be attached, which will be a positive thing moving forward.”
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“I’ve always thought of this component as a personal decision and a business decision for him,” adds Berger. “It has been difficult at times not having his public persona integrated in all parts of our lives, but I’ve never pushed him to come out publicly. That was a decision he had to come to for himself.”
Amboyer and Berger met through an online dating site ten years ago and have been living together for the past nine years. Berger says their relationship has been an example of opposites attracting.
“Our crazies match,” he explains. “I think Dan is very different from the roles he gets to play. He’s a sweet quirky guy who loves animals and is creative and brings a different color to everything in my life. I hold that very valuable.”
“He’s serious and organized. He’s a financial planner, which is the opposite of my actor self. But we compliment each other,” adds Amboyer.
They had long discussed getting married but Amboyer insisted that Berger be the one to propose.
“He charged me with proposing so I told him I was going to do it when he least expected it,” says Berger. “I wanted to book a trip and surprise him but he was on call for some film or television show and he couldn’t leave or go far, so we ended up booking a weekend at Woodstock.”
“It was literally 0 degrees outside,” Berger adds of the February 2016 vacation. “He didn’t want to hike but I convinced him to go to the top of Overlook Mountain, which is the highest peak.”
“I was like, ‘This is the coldest day of the year! Why are we hiking up this mountain right now?!’ says Amboyer. “I was so confused why we were the only people on the trail but when we got to the top, he turned around and had this nervous look in his eye. I was like, ‘What is happening?!’ and then he pulled out the ring. It was very sweet – and also very cold.”
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For their wedding, the couple wanted to have a mix of traditional and fun elements.
The ceremony took place Saturday afternoon at Marble Collegiate Church — where they have been members for eight years — and included performances by Tony winner Patina Miller, who is Amboyer’s former roommate and Carnegie Mellon classmate.
“We wanted a unique wedding experience,” Amboyer says of choosing to do their reception as a more casual “house party” at 632 on Hudson near the Meatpacking District. “We just wanted everyone to have a lot of fun and not have anything feel too stiff or formal.”
Guests including Paloma Guzman, who co-stars with Amboyer in the upcoming film Imposter, Tara Strong, who co-stars with him the upcoming A Very Merry Toy Store, and Younger and Sex & the City creator Darren Starr danced the evening away to tracks spun by RuPaul’s Drag Race finalist Pearl Liaison and enjoyed confections from Magnolia Bakery. The couple pulled out all the stops for their first dance, which was choreographed by Beyoncé choreographer Jeffrey Page.
“I want to live my life moving forward with integrity and pride,” Amboyer says of his decision to publicly celebrate his relationship for the first time. “We might start a family one day I would feel so strangely if I didn’t celebrate that with all of my family and friends and share that with the fans. This is just the beginning of a wonderful future.”