Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons Comes Out In NY Times Profile

Confirming what Queerty and other sources have been saying for years, Emmy-winning Big Bang Theory actor Jim Parsons has revealed he’s gay in a profile in the New York Times.

But if you think the article is some lengthy coming-out saga, it’s not: Parsons’ sexuality is only referenced once, in passing:

The Normal Heart resonated with him on a few levels: Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship, and working with an ensemble again onstage was like nourishment, he said.

Of course, he was being interviewed about the Broadway revival of Harvey, in which he plays Elwood P. Dowd, a sweet man who believes he communicates with a 6’3″ invisible bunny. (Jimmy Stewart immortalized the role in the 1950 film.)

But given that the play is about a grown man seemingly trapped in an adolescent fantasyland, you’d think the subject would come up organically.

Parsons has been doing the orientation tango for some time now: He thanked his longtime partner, Todd Spiewak, at the Golden Globes. But he rattled his name off with a host of others, as so many other closeted actors have done.

Have we reached a point where a major TV star’s coming out is a nonevent? Or is Parsons still trying to fly under the radar—getting free buzz for his Broadway show by coming out discreetly in the Times rather than on the cover of People magazine. We may never know.

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  • Hillers

    Hrm? He’s been out for some time now.


  • mattsy

    I think he did a great job, just casually mentioning it in an article. It should never be front page of People!!! Maybe I’ll watch his show now, but probably not.

  • FreddyMertz

    Didn’t he thank his partner/boyfriend when he won an award? So this is old news..he’s cut tho.

  • FreddyMertz

    @FreddyMertz: Damn, my typing fingers..that should read cute.

  • Delius

    Next Andy “Up the Pooper” Cooper needs to come out!

  • Alexa

    You come out with a bang, someone bitches. You come out with a whimper, someone bitches. As long as people come out, why do we care how they do it?

  • Michael

    It’s been known for years. I guess this is just his official confirmation to the press. Is it a ploy for press? No. I think it’s about being more open and honest. He’s in a show and was interviewed about that. He didn’t sell a story to People.

  • cam

    1. “Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship,”

    I love it, that is the perfect “Normalizing” statement. It wasn’t a huge over the top thing, just like it wasn’t a big deal. Well done to the NYTimes.

    2. Could the people claiming he has been out beause he thanked his partner when he won an emmy please stop. He didn’t. He thanked a very long list of people and his partner’s name was on the list without any indication of whether he was a co-worker, friend, etc…

    He came out now, good for him, no need to rewrite history.

    Of course now that he came out they will probably have Sheldon get married on the Big Bang theory, to a female stripper.

  • Bill

    Did anyone actually need to be told he’s gay?

  • Stevenage

    Coming out on the cover of People is Clay Aiken tacky.

  • Alexa

    @cam: “2. Could the people claiming he has been out beause he thanked his partner when he won an emmy please stop. He didn’t.”

    Yep. If that’s all it takes to come out, Clay Aiken came out right after American Idol when he thanked his boyfriend/hair stylist in an acceptance speech for some award he won. He didn’t, and it doesn’t, unless you actually identify the relationship.

  • Ty

    This is the way people should come out. Just a casual mention in an article as opposed to making this huge massive People magazine cover story where the subject is nothing but him being gay. Jim reminds me of T.R. Knight in the “I hope people find other things interesting about me than just the fact that I’m gay” department instead of doing the Lance Bass/Clay Aiken thing.

  • Casey

    When asked about the years of deceit he’d perpetrated on his fans Jim leaned into the mic and simply replied Bazinga!

  • Michael

    What time is the parade? Yawning.

  • Marc

    @Alexa: Thank you. You saved my arthritic fingers a lot of pain from having to hit a whole lot more keys.

  • YoYo

    @Bill: Exactly…like ‘Front page news: The Pope reveals he’s Catholic.’ ho-hum.

  • jackpapa

    Yea Jim! Much happiness to you!

  • Um....

    People magazine is trash and no one should come out in its pages. This is the mag already salivating as to whether J Lo and Casper are going to have a baby. It’s a hair salon gossip rag. But as to “coming out”… Is it needed? Need he rent a billboard and let everyone know? I seem to recall reading about him in a hipster magazine I’d never heard of (though thoroughly enjoyed for filling its pages with average joes instead of “models”) and the article about him seemed very open about all this.

  • Stupid

    I’m not surprised he’s gay; I’m surprised he merits a NY Times profile.

  • Ty


    really? Big Bang is one of the highest rated shows on television and Sheldon is the breakout character on there. It’s really not that surprising, he’s very popular, you see him on t-shirts and everything.

  • Stupid

    @Ty: Um, I said I was stupid! I guess that’s why I think Big Bang Theory is so awful.

  • Ty


    Big Bang used to be one of the funniest shows on television. It has sadly devolved into Friends soap territory for the past two seasons, but Jim is the reason I’ve stuck with the show. He is incredibly talented and deserved the awards he’s won. Like others have said, I’ve known he was “family” for some time, but still it’s great to hear it confirmed instead of just left as this open secret like Anderson Cooper.

  • benny

    Everyone knew he was gay for a long while now!!!!

    this is old news

  • Bellerophon69

    Coming out, be it in show biz or street life, carries a bit of risk, you never know how peoples perceptions will affect how you are treated afterwards. And so what if he didn’t wear a rainbow t-shirt and scream it from the rooftops when he came out, he didn’t make a big deal about it because he seems comfortable with it. I mean he’s been with someone for ten years, he obviously knew he was gay for a long time, now we know it for sure too and our “gay-dar” wasn’t fooling us! And even if he never came out, I’d still have “the hots” for him. Kudos Jim!

  • KT

    Does it matter?

  • David

    This is pretty big news. TBBT is the highest-rated scripted show on TV these days. It even beat Idol in the ratings several times throughout this season, it’s HUGE. And he’s the star of it.

  • Well

    It may be old news to some of you who move in certain circles but I certainly didn’t know it.

  • Well

    @David Ehrenstein:…..084206.jpg

    Ah, how cute… Makes you just want to rub their tummies or something.

  • Hephaestion

    He’s been out for YEARS, hasn’t he?
    I’m sure I heard him thank his husband when he won an Emmy or some such award.

  • Alan down in Florida

    I was under the impression that after winning his Emmy as Best Actor in a Comedy he later that night proposed marriage to his partner and was accepted.

  • Oh, ok

    @David Ehrenstein: Agreed, I don’t follow this guy but already knew he was gay somehow.

    The real news is that he’s been in a relationship for 10 years, let the phobes suck on that.

  • Basch

    I thought this was officially addressed some time ago?

  • UsualPlayers

    There different degrees of being out of the closet.

    (1) I can tell you most of my straight friends would not know he is gay even if he thanked his partner. Heterosexual normality means that they wouldn’t assume gay.

    (2) People can be out to the gay community, and even the industry, but not the general public. Saying “This is not news because I knew” is a very insular view of the world.

    (3) The way the closet works now, especially for a public figure, is on different circles or rings of being out:

    (a) Inner circle. Your friends and maybe you family know, but you keep it from every one else either by lying or omission or simply by relying on the press to protect you

    (b) Inner circle and the industry know. Everyone in the business knows, but no one talks about it. Probably includes (a)

    (c) Inner circle, industry and gays know. This probably where this guy was until today for most people.

    (d) (a)-(c), but includes open secret to even the general public, but for some reason the star and the media denies it. Anderson Cooper comes to mind in this category.

    (e) Last category- demonstrating in the media either through words or action that one is gay in a way that says to the media that they can talk about it or your partner.

    THe last one, (e), is what confuses a lot of people. They assume someone is “out” because there are certain levels higher that knows, but misses the part where the media will protect the closet of someone who is even semi out.

    Hell, they have even create new categories- What’s his name Luke Evans? Where they are out, but suddenly in- or “recloseted”

    If you don’t work with that kind of understand of Hollywood in mind, it can, I guess, be a little confusing. If you do, you can understand how this guy wasn’t out to the media, until today. THey didn’t realize until then that they didn’t have to protect the closet although many of them already knew.

  • UsualPlayers

    Re Anderson COoper

    I was hanging out at my grandmother- who is not into pop culture, and barely watches tv, outside of cable news- she says to me ‘you know I heard from my neighbor that he’s gay.” Her neighbor is another old lady with no interest in pop culture

    When it reaches that level of public awareness its amazing how the press will still, nevertheless, protect his closet. I am sure when he comes out- the press will announce its a m ajor shocker.

  • Good Guy

    @Ty: this is precisely how people come out as heterosexual

  • Ty

    @Good Guy:

    True, and it’s better it to be like that. Gale Harold is the only actor I can name who ever did the “ambiguously straight” thing in the early seasons of QAF because he wanted people to judge his performance and not how well a straight man could play gay. More gay actors should talk about their sexuality in passing like this in interviews instead of calling a rag near the cash register to discuss their sexuality. “Yea, I’ve been in a relationship with the same guy for ten years” is a better way to come out than do the “I’m Gay” People magazine cover story where that is the only thing people are talking about. An actor discussing his sexual orientation should be no different than if an actor lets out that he’s Jewish (and there have been many actors who hid being Jewish for years) or that he’s left-handed.

  • Geoff W

    He was never in. So glad Matt Bomer and Jim Parsons live their lives elegantly on their own terms. No tacky Poeple covers shouting I’m out for them. The best way to come out is to merely treat it as normal and just thank your family like straight stars do! Thanks Matt and Jim for being great role models!

  • UsualPlayers


    You are plainly lying. Is this the sort of thing where you figure if you repeat it enough, its now true?

  • Oh, ok

    I don’t really care about celebrities coming out, but I found it funny that after reading this article I found something somewhat related:[email protected]/page2/

    Apparently Colton Hayne’s team is so worried people will find out he’s gay that they actually created fake “leaked” photos from “high school” with him interacting with girls, and being “butch” with the fellas.

    As we all know he didn’t look like that in high school because we’ve seen what he looked like in high school while kissing his boyfriend in an underage nearly porn mag.

    The fact that they bothered to recreate his high school days to fool people is truly pathetic. I just had to call him out on my little discovery because it’s both sad and hilarious at the same time.

    Does he really think people care that much about him? Sheesh.

  • maybe

    this will be ‘news’ to my heterosexual BigBangTheory loving son, so i assume it will be ‘news’ to many others.

    for every high visibility person prepared to be open the less of an anomoly it becomes and the more society shifts towards seeing people as the same. that is how it worked in my country, the uk.

    i don’t care how they come out to the public, just happy that they are out.

  • Caleb

    This is very old news. Hey, Queerty, news flash: Gay men in the 1960s adored Judy Garland! Pass it on!

  • Lefty

    I’m surprised so many people are saying “everyone already knew, so what’s the point?”.
    There are a lot of gay kids who at school everyone kind of knows are gay, but coming out isn’t just about relaying personal information to people – it’s about self-empowerment and pride, obviously.
    That kid at school who everyone already knew is gay, is still doing something wholly worthwhile for himself and for other gay kids in the school and beyond, by coming out as gay.
    I can understand some element of control in the coming out of actors, for example, because I think the fear they will be “defined” purely by their sexuality is a valid one – hence, the quiet no-big-deal coming out.

    Good for him. He’s great in Big Bang Theory (the main reason I watch it, in fact).

  • OmiBasket

    I love Jim Parsons; Big Bang Theory rocks!

  • cam

    @Lefty: said…

    I’m surprised so many people are saying “everyone already knew, so what’s the point?”.”

    Whenever there is a story like this you get a bunch of new accounts or accounts rarely seen that claim some person or another is out even when they aren’t.

    Just some publicist’s interns trying to flood the blogs with B.S.

  • Betsey

    I was more amazed to read that he’s 39 than that he’s gay. I mean he looks so young, I guess that’s what having a great supportive partner does for you.

  • B

    No. 8 · cam wrote, “2. Could the people claiming he has been out beause he thanked his partner when he won an emmy please stop. He didn’t. He thanked a very long list of people and his partner’s name was on the list without any indication of whether he was a co-worker, friend, etc…”

    Not sure if it was an Emmy award, but I saw him get one award – it was broadcasted on TV – and the camera showed him sitting at a dinner table with his partner next to him. Why should he make an announcement there that he was gay and was there with his partner? If straight actors don’t have to do that, why should gay actors have to? He just acted like everyone else.

  • UsualPlayers

    @B: Because most people don’t assume a man is gay just because he’s sitting next to another man. Why do you and others insist on saying stupid things?

  • UsualPlayers

    By the way, I loved Parsons as an actor both before and after his coming out.

    I just have little patience for the stupidity as displayed in this comment section.

  • Peter Rock Favazza

    I have not read the other reviews of this non-story as of yet, but as I always say some folks need to publicly announce that they are gay. Mr Parsons is not one of those. For him that would be like a Pink Elephant announcing he was an elephant or pink for that matter. I like him as an actor, and that is all that really matters.

  • voiceman56

    How could any serious journalist start a story with: “Confirming what Queerty and other sources have been saying for years?” This sounds like the cheap garbage we see on the local TV news. I hope you didn’t sprain your shoulder patting yourselves on the back, and I hope in the future you will just tell me the facts. QWEERTY is better than this

  • Mark

    Why do celebs or for that matter anyone that is gay has to come out? Who cares! I wish the community would lay it to rest and stop acting as if having someone out themselves validates your authenticity as a human being. You’re gay? So what. I hope Anderson never comes out and continues on in his normal everyday life living with and dating whomsoever.

  • LadyL

    @UsualPlayers: Nodding my head as I’m reading your comments, especially #34–thanks for breaking it down like that. The mainstream media’s role in all the confusion can be especially vexing; on the other hand they are probably often bowing to pressure from power publicists who remaine convinced that keeping their clients in the closet is the time-honored way to protect careers…
    …which brings me to this observation: MATT BOMER IS NOT OUT.

  • Toby

    @Well: Soft kitty, warm kitty, little balls of fur….

  • LadyL

    As I read this article and then began perusing the comments I knew it was coming and boom, there it was. But no, people. Mr. Bomer is not out of the closet. Is not.
    Yeah, I saw the Palm Springs clip in which he thanked his family, including in his shout-out the name of his partner, Simon Halls. (His first name, with no clarification for those not in the know as to who “Simon” is) And I saw all the this-just-in online articles that acknowledged the moment, one of them even reporting carefully worded congratulations from Bomer’s “White Collar” costars, Tim DeKay and Tiffani Thiessen. But you know what I didn’t see?
    I may well have missed it–I’m sure you’ll all leap to correct me if I did–but I didn’t see one word about Matt Bomer on broadcast or cable TV. Not a word, not a mention, of this supposed coming out from the likes of “Entertainment Tonight,” “Access Hollywood,” “Showbiz Tonight” and the like, that are usually in dead heat competition with each other to report the latest celebrity gossip and news. (And as I write these words, ET’s Mark Steines is chatting with Kelly Preston about her amazing 40 pound weight loss and revealing the following Travolta Family Secret: daughter Ella has acting ambitions!!!!!)
    The broadcast (and print?) blackout about Bomer’s “coming out” is significant because it’s understood that there’s a wide audience out there that still gets most or all of its infotainment from traditional media outlets, folks who may not be so okay with knowing sexy Neal Caffrey’s actual sexual preference. (No, it’s not Neal’s preference, it’s Matt’s, but some people don’t register the difference– or at least that’s the industry presumption).
    The silence is significant for another reason as well: Simon Halls is also Bomer’s media-savvy publicist. (This is not news to anyone here I realize but, again, it’s probably not known generally) Is it just me or did Matt Bomer seem to disappear after the Palm Springs event and all the online chatter that blew up about it? If it was his intention to use the awards acceptance as a coming out vehicle–or he didnt intend that, exactly, but was okay with it being received that way–wouldn’t there have been some kind of follow-up comment, either from him or a media rep?
    A brief, low-key chat on “Today?” A smiling appearance on “Live With Kelly!”? A visit with the ladies of “The View,” something, somewhere? He’s a hottie celeb who acknowledged his family’s loving support in a poignant, heartfelt way. That’s a good thing, right? Because we’re all about Family here in America, or at least we like to say so ad nauseum, right? Again, I could have missed it, but after the event Bomer said nothing to no one. You had the feeling he was being advised to keep his head down and his mouth shut until the noise fades away. You also had the feeling that all those infotainment TV hosts and reporters, who must also have seen the Palm Springs clip or at least heard about it, and were debating how to report it, were being actively discouraged from pursuing the story.
    Which brings us back to Jim Parsons…. I’m all for the low-key approach to coming out if it makes celebrities more comfortable with the process. Forsaking the closet is still perceived as career risk, so it’s a smart way to publicly own up and then go about your business. But I worry sometimes that we’re so hungry for gay celebs to come out (sneering denials notwithstanding) that we leap to cheer people who haven’t actually said anything, who in fact seem to be trying not to say anything, while deriding others who do decide to come out in more direct and public ways. It’s as though we’ve bought into the idea that talking about our real lives out loud is both unnecessary and in poor taste. Tell that to all those lonely gay kids who are being beaten down every damn day by merciless peers and clueless parents, and are killing themselves for lack or support or hope.

  • LadyL

    Ach–stupid fingers. Meant to type “for lack OF support or hope.” Okay. I’m off the soapbox now. ;-)

  • UsualPlayers


    I think the media considers Matt Bomer to be out. That was my impression from the media coverage of it, but who knows. Again, in a world where one can re-closet oneself and there is a “controversy” about privacy over someone who previously came out, but succeeded in Hollywood so we must now pretend they didn’t previously announce in the media that they were gay- in that world- its hard to keep it straight (no pun intended) about what status people actually have.

  • UsualPlayers

    LadyL you do make a point about clarity. I am not sure whether we are going to get get anything like that. The entire process is meant to obscure rather than illuminate.

  • RG

    Frankly, Parsons is a human being. Is it really necessary that this man (or anyone else) needs to announce his/her sexuality in a damned press release at a hyped press conference to a bunch of over-glamorized media busybodies for a public that needs a tabloid fix? I think not. It’s between Parsons and his significant other.

    People are so much more than what’s hanging on their arm or whether they are hooked up.

  • TomR

    Parsons is from Houston and was well known here as a talented actor. I go to the theater once or twice a year, and peripherally know a few theater people. Though I never saw him on stage, I was aware that Parsons was gay. Everyone was. He was an out gay man in the Houston theater scene. It seems that once an actor “makes the big time” the media assumes (like much of the straight world) that you are hetero until you make a big splashy announcement to the contrary that they can use to sell their magazines, papers, or broadcasts. Jim Parsons was not in the clloset. He just hadn’t yet had his sexuality pimped out for media ratings. It is to his (and probably his publicist’s) credit that it got handled so subtly. I am not a fan of Big Bang, incidently. I’ve never even seen the show.

  • John R in SIA

    I wish we were at a point where a person coming-out was “no big deal.” And in many respects, coming-out has become much more commonplace. Unfortunately, there are thousands … maybe even millions … of gay men and women who fear being “outed” for a whole laundry list of reasons. Having been “out” since my early 20’s, I know both sides of the “closet”; the pain and isolation of being “in the closet,” and the liberation that “coming-out” can provide. But very often “coming-out”, or being “outed,” can have not only benefits, but also some serious consequences. If and when we reach the point that the laws of the land regard gay men and women as equals to all other Americans, THEN we might have reached a point where “coming-out” can become “no big deal.”

    As others have said, how one comes out is not important. What is important, for himself and for those he cares for, is that he has publicly acknowledged his orientation.

  • LadyL

    @UsualPlayers: You may be correct in the media’s perception of Bomer being out. On the other hand the bar is so low for the mainstream media’s understanding of “out” that it’s hard for me to take them seriously. I guess what I was laboring to say is that when Bomer can make his public appearances for his movies and TV series and openly acknowledge his relationship with Halls–no splashy fanfare or special announcement, just talking about Halls and himself in an organic way, the way straight celebs can and do–then I will consider him out of the closet. From this distance, to me at least, he stills seem pretty much on the DL.
    I was looking around hulu earlier today and caught two E! News clips that interested me in how alike and how strikingly different the gay celeb stories were: one clip was about Parsons’s coming out in the NY Times article, the other about fitness guru Jillian Michaels. Michaels and her partner Heidi Rhoades are featured in stories in People Magazine and the L.A. Times because they are the proud parents of 2 new babies–Jillian adopted their Haitian daughter within days of Heidi’s having given birth to their son.
    The E! correspondent was upbeat and cheerfully matter-of-fact in her reporting of both celebs–great. But I couldn’t help noticing that while there were a couple of beautiful pictures of Jillian and Heidi posing with their children, the Jim Parsons story was accompanied by images of him at awards shows and industry functions posing for the cameras alone.
    I do get the difference–Jim Parsons is a breakout star on a hit sitcom and Jillian Michaels is, well, not; we can presume the out and proud stakes are higher for him. Also Parsons is a guy, and gay men are forced to deal with that whole cultural minefield of queerness and masculinity, whereas attractive lesbians like Michaels are… well, let’s just say it’s different for dykes. :-)(Not necessarily easier, mind you, but different.) And hell, I may be reading too much into those solo images of Parsons–maybe they’re all from before the NY Times piece, when he was still carefully skirting the subject. I sure hope so. I hope this doesn’t devolve into Parsons continuing to keep his partner outside the camera range at public functions, and still avoiding any discussion of his personal life during interviews. That really would seem like a march back into the closet. Which would seriously suck.

  • Kim

    @LadyL: He mentioned Simon recently while doing an interview for Magic Mike with Entertainment Weekly:

    EW: You all show a lot of skin in this movie. What did you significant others think of that?

    Bomer: Simon was totally cool with it. He’s totally supportive of me as an artist. He’s like, “Go do your thing, and let me know how it goes when you get back home.”

  • Ken

    Um really?? This is news? You do realize that Jim Parsons thanked his partner when he accepted his Emmy award? He’s acknowledged his partner publicly many times. He’s NEVER been in the closet. So this is the stupidest story EVER… Check your facts before you waste time with a story that frankly makes you look like a fool.

  • LadyL

    @Kim: Did he? I didn’t know that but I’m truly glad to hear it. If Matt Bomer has been publicly acknowledging Halls since the Palm Springs thing, well then I stand corrected.
    @Ken: So then is the Queerty story on Parsons incorrect in its suggestion that up to now he has been coy about his orientation and keeping his partner under the radar? You know, I don’t want to nitpick about these guys. I know it’s easier watching them than being in their shoes. But as UsualPlayers pointed out in his earlier comment, there’s out and there’s out. There’s also a lot of anxiety and ambivalence, as everybody–gay celebs, their handlers, and the press–tries to figure out how to deal with the reality of being a famous LGBT person in a changing world. (Looking at you, Anderson) It just seems to me that these days many of them seem to want it both ways; not wanting to be perceived as just another closet-case but still too afraid of the consequences to talk openly in an arena (like television) where even your grandparents know.

  • Redsmas

    Here is the truly shocking fact, he is 39 years old…

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