The actor publicly came out in a March TedX Talk that was released on YouTube in June
The actor, who plays Kimmy Gibbler’s on-again-off-again love Fernando on the Netflix sitcom, says the tight-knit cast could not have been more supportive when he publicly came out as gay last month.
“[They’ve been] the best. There is so much support that we don’t even need to talk about it. We talked about it at some point a few years back, but it’s a non-issue, you know, we’re there for each other all the time and we support each other like any family,” Di Pace, 39, told Entertainment Tonight. “We’re very tight.”
He continued, “I’m very lucky to be part of a cast that really is like my second family.”
The Argentinian actor came out to his friends and family 20 years ago, but only announced his sexuality to the world in a March TedX Talk that was released on YouTube in late June.
“I was told, ‘Don’t do it. We don’t want to know,’ ” he recalled to ET. “And I couldn’t live with myself if I lied. But I was omitting information … When you are asked by a group of teenagers that they want you to talk to them, I felt it was my duty to be honest and vulnerable.”
In his talk, which was titled “The Story of Your Life,” Di Pace said he’d been called an anti-gay slur as a child, and the incident had long shaped his ability to accept his own identity.
It wasn’t until he took on the role of Jesus Christ in NBC’s A.D. The Bible Continues that he realized it was okay to be gay.
“Of all the people in the world that could play this part, they gave it to me. So there I am, hanging on the cross, in Morocco, and I look up at the sky, and I think, ‘You could still strike me down with lightning. Are you sure you want me to play your son?’” Di Pace said during the speech.
“Instead, what I felt was an overwhelming feeling of love and acceptance and freedom that I could never even put into words,” he said. “A message from God? Maybe.”
The actor, who competed on Dancing with the Stars last fall, told PEOPLE earlier this month that he’s felt a sense of relief since sharing his story.
“It is something that I was keeping, you know, quiet for a reason thinking that perhaps this in my industry was something to guard, because there’s always the paranoia with artists as well,” he said.
“Paranoia that, I don’t know if this is going to be a good piece of information because you don’t want to typecast, you want to be able to play all the colors of the rainbow, so to speak,” Di Pace continued. “I felt that I now had the responsibility to talk to people to a generation about what I found out about my life, and we all have different perspectives of life.”