'Bridgerton' Star Jonathan Bailey Reveals He Felt Pressured To Hide His Sexuality For His Career

He came out to his loved ones in his early 20s.

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 19: Jonathan Bailey attends the Ami Fall/Winter 2022/2023 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 19, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Jonathan Bailey has become a heartthrob after starring in Bridgerton, Netflix’s period drama set in a fictional 19th-century London. Bailey plays Anthony Bridgerton, a quintessential English nobleman, and the eldest Bridgerton sibling and dutiful head of the family. Fans can't get enough of Bailey after season two of the series revolved around him and his love triangle with sisters Kate and Edwina Sharma, played by Simone Ashley and Charithra Chandran. Bailey is gay and has been open about his sexuality but he revealed in an interview with GQ that it wasn't always the case.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Jonathan Bailey attends the GQ Men Of The Year Awards 2021 at the Tate Modern on September 01, 2021, in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

The 33-year-old English actor said one of his friends hinted the industry prefers straight actors. The actor recalled what one of his actor friends said, "There's two things we don't want to know: if you're an alcoholic or if you're gay." That message stuck with him and as an aspiring actor, he tried to hide his sexuality for the sake of his career. "All it takes is for one of those people in that position of power to say that, and it ripples through," he said. "So, yeah, of course, I thought that. Of course, I thought that in order to be happy I needed to be straight."


He soon realized that he would rather embrace his true self rather than hide his sexuality to land a role. "I reached a point where I thought, 'F— this,'" he said. "I'd much prefer to hold my boyfriend's hand in public or be able to put my own face picture on Tinder and not be so concerned about that than getting a part." He came out to his loved ones in his early 20s. He also became one of the few actors to be not be defined by their sexuality. He has since shattered the glass ceiling and has, in many ways, Bailey is helping normalize gay actors to live their lives truthfully in the industry. 


Bridgerton has seen him become a sex symbol but he is not too keen on actors being viewed as such. “Any actor who thinks they’re a sex symbol? Cringe,” he said. When asked about his role in the Netflix drama and how he views himself in the context of his role, the actor said the love triangle has forced him to "think about love a lot." As part of his acting process, he likes to draw from his own personal life and he's done the same for Bridgerton. "You put your life experiences into [the work]," he explained. "What's most interesting is not necessarily having to talk about what that is, and keeping a sense of privacy." When asked about his newfound fame, he responds that he prefers to have a great career as opposed to fame. 


The new Bridgerton trailer has dropped and already has its fans excited. Newcomers Kate Sharma (played by Simone Ashley) and her younger sister Edwina (Charithra Chandran) aim to win the most eligible bachelor Anthony Bridgerton played by Jonathan Bailey. As his mother says in the trailer, it's Anthony's hand he's apparently offering and not his heart. "After your father died a wall went up inside you as if love had become some weakness instead of your greatest strength," she says of her son. Anthony is deeply attracted to Kate but appears to be a better fit for Edwina, Kate's elder sister. The second season will stream on Netflix from March 25.

You can watch the trailer here: