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T.R. Knight is
just a regular guy

T.R. Knight is
just a regular guy


Shy, disarming, charming to a fault, sharp as a tack, and anything but a victim--emerging from the center of the storm, T.R. Knight lays down his armor.

"I'm not going to keep my mouth closed anymore," says T.R. Knight. After more than a week of conversations--in person, by phone, by e-mail--that's the defining statement from the actor who's at the center of the storm of controversy that for the last nine months has engulfed ABC's Grey's Anatomy.

From Knight, that's a lot. Speaking out doesn't come easily for him. Raised in Minnesota, he is naturally reserved and averse to talking about himself. "Don't get too big for your britches," he was warned as a boy, and he's always taken that to heart. Why would anyone care about him, much less what he thinks?

But if you saw Knight on TV at this year's GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles, you can't shake the memory of the warm applause that became a standing ovation, his abashed demeanor in the spotlight, and his simple moment of truth. "I'm angry," he said--and paused, caught up in emotion. "I'm very angry at the inequality we face every day."

That anger, it seems, is one reason the press-shy Knight decided to sit down with The Advocate to give his first in-depth interview since coming out October 19 in a statement released to People magazine.

My first meeting with T.R. is over sushi at a Los Angeles restaurant of his choosing. He's late but scores points for politeness when he calls to apologize. He eventually arrives, literally running around the corner. He's coming from a workout session, something he began in earnest this year. His hair is mussed, and he looks rumpled and disarming. His fame isn't the stalkerazzi kind: Although people sometimes glance at him from other tables, no one interrupts us.

Knight is clearly not accustomed to being interviewed. He is a charmingly awkward talker who pauses and frets over his words, stumbling over his sentences and backtracking repeatedly before apologizing for his verbal clumsiness. An innocuous question about what his parents do for a living results in a five-minute explanation of why he doesn't want to discuss that.

At first, his answers are vague and nonspecific (perhaps an unintended result of spending a good chunk of his life in the closet professionally). At times trying to get any specific, personal information out of him feels like dealing with a skittish horse: Move too quickly and he might bolt. And soon he does--he excuses himself to go walk his dog, assuring me that he knows we aren't done talking yet. I hope he means it.

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Michael Giltz