Packed To The Rafters star Hugh Sheridan has opened up about his sexuality in a candid new essay for Stellar, saying he felt the time was right to speak out about his experiences, for the benefit of those who are still trying to “figure themselves out.”

The actor said that, throughout his high school and teen years, his peers assumed he was gay, even though he himself felt the label was “misplaced” as he had never been attracted to men at that point. This changed when he arrived at acting school. He wrote:

“After moving to Sydney to attend NIDA, I finally met a guy who I connected with emotionally, mentally and physically.”

He said that he was “over the moon” and “could finally be what people always wanted me to be, so I told everyone,” but this came with added complications, as people close to him in the acting world, including two mentors who were gay, told him to conceal his sexuality in order to find work.

He wrote:

“Figuring out that I connected with the same sex the way I did the opposite sex was almost a relief, so that advice was confusing. I now know that they were coming from a place of caring. The way it was explained to me was that women wouldn’t want to pay to see a movie or TV show if they knew they couldn’t have sex with the leading man. And it made me angry.”

Hugh Sheridan says he has since been in relationships with men as well as women, but he never felt comfortable applying any traditional labels to himself or his sexuality, so he instead said nothing at all. He said of his decision to finally “come out” that:

“[I’m coming out as]  a human being. People will read this and say, ‘He’s not coming out. He’s bisexual. He’s asexual. Or non-binary. Or queer. Or fluid.’ There are all these words that didn’t exist when I was younger and maybe if they had, they would have helped. But the fact that these labels keep popping up indicate there must be a lot more people out there who feel how I feel – like the words still don’t fit. Maybe this is also my way of letting people know that I’m still single, and everyone is on the smorgasbord.”

Packed To The Rafters was recently picked up for a new season, Back To The Rafters, by Amazon Prime. Filming was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but production reportedly wrapped earlier this month.

Image: Getty Images / Sam Tabone