Ben Whishaw (Paddington, A Very English Scandal) has spoken out about struggling in the closet and how therapy helped the actor accept himself.
Although Whishaw is now open and comfortable with his queer identity, the gay actor revealed to The Sunday Times Magazine, a British outlet, that he once "hated" himself for who he was.
''There was a moment in my early twenties when I did not feel very good about myself," the 38-year-old actor stated in the March 24 interview. "It was to do with my sexuality and not knowing how to be myself and hating myself. I did know [my sexuality], I just couldn't tell anyone."
Whishaw entered a civil partnership with composer Mark Bradshaw in 2012 and said therapy "really helped him." After the actor came out officially in 2013, Whishaw was able to put his anxieties to rest.
"I don't think [sexuality] is the be-all and end-all, and since revealing my sexuality I haven't had any negative effects," he told the Sunday Times.
In the interview, Whishaw went on to condemn bierasure and expressed his belief that human sexuality exists on a scale. “I think it’s very unfair when people say they’re bisexual and they’re accused of being gay really," he said. “If we’re honest about these things, perhaps most people are on a spectrum.”
“I hate all these labels. I get mixed up," he added.
Whishaw has come a long way in his career and his journey toward self-acceptance. In January, he won a Golden Globe for his role as the out figure Norman Scott in A Very English Scandal, and he paid tribute to the "true queer hero and icon" in his acceptance speech.
After his win, Whishaw said he did not mind if straight actors played gay roles — as long as the entertainment created a more "even playing field" for all actors. "I think there needs to be greater equality," Whishaw said. "I would like to see more gay actors playing straight roles. It needs to be an even playing field for everybody ― that would be my ideal."
Whishaw is also now a prominent actor in family entertainment. In addition to reprising his role as the voice of Paddington Bear in an upcoming Nickelodeon animated series, Whishaw starred in Disney's Mary Poppins Returns, in which he portrayed Michael Banks.