Colton Haynes kept his sexuality a secret because he was told it would hurt his acting career.
The Arrow star came out to his family and friends back home in Kansas at the age of 14, but the 28-year-old reveals he didn't open up about his sexuality until this year (16) because he was told it would be a big mistake.
"I feel really bad that I had to lie for so long...," he tells Out magazine. "When you're young in this industry, people take advantage of you, and they literally tell you that your dreams are going to come true. If you believe that, you'll do anything. And you do believe it, especially if you're from Kansas."
Earlier this year (16), Colton entered rehab after he made an official announcement regarding his sexuality. Following his announcement, critics took aim at him for not being more candid with his homosexuality.
He admitted he was astonished by all the attention, which ultimately led to him checking into a facility to treat his anxiety.
"It was a complete shock," he told Entertainment Weekly in May (16). "I wasn't ready to be back in the headlines. I should have made a comment or a statement, but I just wasn't ready. I didn't feel like I owed anyone anything. I think in due time, everyone has to make those decisions when they're ready, and I wasn't yet. But I felt like I was letting people down by not coming forward with the rest of what I should have said."
While Colton faced a slew of criticism from the public, it was nothing compared to the difficult time he went through as a teenager. After coming out, the actor was bullied incessantly, started experimenting with drugs and lost his virginity to a boy and a girl.
He also ran away from home and found out his father, who he wasn't close with, committed suicide while he was gone.
"I'm the last person in the world who would say, 'Oh, my dad - pity me'," he says. But I was told that my dad killed himself because he found out I was gay. So, of course, I lost it and was like, 'How could you say something like that?' And no one will ever really know the truth. But my brother and my mom went to pick up my dad's stuff, and the only picture on his fridge was my eighth-grade graduation picture."
Colton still suffers from anxiety, but he is dealing with it through therapy and insists it is the "best thing that's ever happened to him."
Right now he is single, but he is hoping to one day marry and have six kids.
"I want to somehow have a happy ending," he says. "Or a happy beginning."