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Ben Whishaw says coming out as gay is ‘intimate’ and ‘difficult’

Ben Whishaw poses in the press room at the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards 2013 at the Royal Festival Hall on May 12, 2013 in London, England.
Ben Whishaw poses in the press room at the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards 2013 at the Royal Festival Hall on May 12, 2013 in London, England. Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Actor Ben Whishaw is accustomed to playing many types of roles on the big screen, but putting his private life on display publically when he came out as gay was something he found extremely difficult and something that took great courage. In an interview with The Sunday Times newspaper published Sunday, the “Skyfall” actor opened up about his sexuality and coming out.

The 33-year-old actor called coming out an “intimate, private and difficult” thing, but was relieved when the reactions he received were nowhere as bad as he was expecting. Whishaw’s coming out experience was similar to many of the celebrities who have come out as either gay or bisexual over the last few years. It was also symbolic of how accepting society has become. His new movie role has led him to reflect on his own experience.

Whishaw plays a gay man struggling to come to terms with the death of his boyfriend in the new indie film “Lilting.” In the movie, he is forced to tell the grieving mother about his relationship with her son for the first time. Whishaw was asked how the experience of the character related to his own coming out process

He told The Sunday Times Magazine, “It is hard. I applaud anyone who does it. There is so much tension around doing something like that, that maybe you’re not quite thinking rationally. You can say absurd things because you are in panic.” When asked about coming out to his own parents, he said, “I did have to. It’s a phrase I’m not entirely comfortable with, but since it’s the only one we have…. My experiences were not dramatic. No walking around the block. And everyone was surprisingly lovely. I hadn’t anticipated that they would be, but they were…”

He also found it hard having a conversation with people he has known his own life about something he found to be so intimate and private. It’s a difficult conversation for most people, especially for someone in the public spotlight. Whishaw entered into a civil partnership with Australian composer Mark Bradshaw last summer, which caused him to open up about his sexuality. He is also set to take on the role of Freddie Mercury in the upcoming biopic about he Queen frontman’s life.