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Bridgerton continues to trend as one of Netflix‘s most popular shows, and we think we know why: Jonathan Bailey, the handsome, British heartthrob leading the series. As a gay actor, Bailey has shown that he commands a sexual charge on screen…even when playing a straight character.
Bailey opened up recently about Season 2 of Bridgeton, and the controversial choice to keep the season’s sex scenes saved for the final two episodes.
“It would have been wrong for Kate and Anthony to have got physical any sooner than they did,” Bailey told USA Today. “And I think the payoff is really earned.”
“What you lose in sex scenes you gain in a deeper human understanding, which hopefully enriches the world so that the future intimacy scenes won’t be the heavy feature, and (you) won’t have to lean on them as much,” he added. “It’s right to surprise an audience and keep them on their toes a bit.”
In the same feature, the 33-year-old actor also discussed playing a straight leading character as an openly gay man.
“It’s thrilling to be able to step into a role that perhaps I’ve previously not felt was open, or I certainly didn’t have anyone filling this space when I was younger,” Bailey also said. “Hopefully, Anthony Bridgerton will be a brilliant reference for any queer, young actor – with so many other brilliant actors who are also making waves, silently and some really vocally – that they’ll be able to say, ‘well, listen, I do want to go for that job because I know that guy is out and that’s absolutely fine.'”
Absolutely fine, indeed. Of course, Bailey isn’t the first gay actor to find success playing straight characters on a TV series. Have a look at five other queer stars who made it big playing it straight…
J. August Richards
Richards made a career for himself playing straight, tough guys like the vampire hunter Charles Gunn on Angel and the superhero Deathlok on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. He came out publicly in 2020 when he nabbed the role of a gay father on Council of Dads.
Harris enjoyed teen heartthrob status through the 1990s after starring in the sitcom Doogie Howser, M.D. Even after coming out, he found success on TV playing the straight womanizer Barney on How I Met Your Mother.
Portia de Rossi
Also known as Ellen DeGeneres‘ lady, Ms. de Rossi found her best success playing straight gals on Better Off Ted and Arrested Development. Being married to DeGeneres hasn’t stopped her from taking straight roles, such as in Scandal.
Also known as one of the 1980s TV moms, Baxter became one of the most recognized women in the world thanks to her stint on Family Ties, and in a series of popular TV movies. She snagged three Emmy nominations before coming out in 2009, and continues to play straight women such as in the Lifetime movie Becoming Santa.
Nash became a recognizable actor thanks to her hilarious performance in Reno 911! and its various spinoffs. She shocked her fans and Hollywood by announcing her marriage to singer Jessica Betts in 2020.