Jim Parsons, 47, played the role of Sheldon Cooper on the CBS sitcom from 2007 to 2019. He didn’t speak publicly about his sexuality until 2012, six years into The Big Bang Theory’s 12-season run.
The star came out as gay in an interview with the New York Times, casually revealing that he had been in a loving relationship with a man for 10 years.
“I was 33 when I started doing The Big Bang Theory, and things started to become much higher-profile very quickly. So I wasn’t some spring chicken,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
“But I hadn’t grown up even close to the era we are in now, as far as what it meant to tell somebody you were gay. I think it’s undeniably different than it was 20 years ago.
“So I was scared. I wasn’t scared about losing my job. And I wasn’t scared to the point of denying my sexuality. But I was scared enough to make it my mission not to talk about it. I was scared enough to be nervous the first time I was even nominated for the Emmy.
“And I was scared that it might cause trouble, quote unquote, for our big television show.”
Jim Parsons ‘felt ownership’ of his sexuality after coming out.
To his relief, the news of his sexuality “faded away pretty damn quickly”, and had no bearing whatsoever on the success of the show. But he didn’t anticipate the impact it would have on him personally.
“The big deal for me came in the weeks and months after that,” he said. “Once it was out officially, I felt a sense of ownership over it, and that was very new to me, and I felt like a more participatory member of the community.
“That was and still is to varying degrees elating to me.”