Stranger Things star Noah Schnapp has revealed how his on-screen character Will helped him to come out as gay.
The actor confirmed his sexuality to fans in a TikTok video shared in January this year.
The post showed Schnapp in bed with an in-video caption which read: “When I finally told my friends and family I was gay after being scared in the closet for 18 years and all they said was ‘we know’.”
In a new interview with Variety, Schnapp credited Will’s sexuality for helping him to acknowledge his own sexuality.
“Once I did fully embrace that Will was gay, it was just an exponential speed towards accepting it for myself,” Schnapp said.
“I would be in a completely different place if I didn’t have Will to portray, and to embrace and help me accept myself. I think if I never played that character, I probably would still be closeted.”
Schnapp has portrayed the role of Will Byers since Stranger Things season one, which aired in 2016. He was 11 years old when he started filming the first season.
The actor recalls how growing up in the public eye and reading commentary online which questioned Will’s sexuality impacted his own sense of identity.
“I think it made me hold it down deeper because it was kind of being poked and prodded out of me in such a public way,” he said.
However, it was the positive response to Will being gay that made Schnapp want to come out.
“It kind of blew up in the press, and everyone was like, ‘Oh, Will’s gay! Hooray!'” he added.
“I saw all these comments on Instagram and TikTok. There was not one bad thing about him being gay. I was like, if he has all this support, then why should I worry about anything?”
Fans will see Schnapp reprise his role in Stranger Things season 5, which has been confirmed by The Duffer Brothers as the show’s final season.
The current Hollywood writers’ and actors’ strikes have meant that the fifth season is delayed. Matt and Ross Duffer have confirmed that production won’t begin again until the strikes end.
Stranger Things seasons 1-4 are now streaming worldwide on Netflix.