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Russell Tovey says his dad wanted to cure his gayness with hormones

Tovey (right) in ‘Years and Years’

Actor Russell Tovey has opened up about his relationship with his father. The actor says that just after his coming out, his dad tried to cure his gayness using hormone therapy.

The Years and Years star and his mother Carole sat down with the UK paper The Sunday Times to discuss coming out, and his father’s reaction to it.

“I don’t think either of my parents were homophobic,” Tovey says, “they just didn’t know any gay people or anyone with gay kids. They had nothing to cling to.”

Related: Do you need a little more Russell Tovey in your life?

“My dad thought it could be cured,” he then added. “He was scared about what my life would be like. To him, being gay was a road of pitfalls and unhappiness; out of love he wanted to correct this weakness, to put cotton wool around me and protect me from all that. People react in different ways, there’s no rhyme or reason, but if you love someone you have to respect the process.”

“George had a hard time with it,” Tovey’s mother, Carole, admits. “It took him about three years to come to terms with it. I think it was to do with pride, his idea of what makes you a man. He thought we’d somehow made Russell gay. ‘We’ll get him hormone treatment.’ He found it hard to see that Russ was happy and we had to accept it.”

The scientific community generally agrees that conversation therapy or other attempts to change sexual orientation are both ineffective and harmful to the subject.

Fortunately, Tovey’s dad eventually came around, and without Russell having to take hormone shots. Now 39, the actor enjoys a successful career as well as a happy partnership with longtime boyfriend, rugby coach Steve Brockman.