Tuc Watkins in a grey sweater

Tuc Watkins’ acting career stretches back over 30 years. He first caught attention back in the mid-1990s with a recurring role on the ABC soap One Life to Live. The 56-year-old has worked steadily ever since, with credits on General Hospital, Melrose Place, The Mummy, Desperate Housewives, Six Feet Under, and The Other Two, to name just a few.

Most recently, he played opposite Neil Patrick Harris in the comedy-drama Uncoupled. The show has been recommissioned for a second series, so fans will find out whether his and Harris’ characters (Colin and Michael) decide to give their long-term relationship another chance. In the theatre, he also earned praise for his performance in The Inheritance, the AIDS-based drama by Matthew Lopez.

He enjoyed a viral moment this year for reasons unrelated to his work.

Watkins is in recovery. He’s now been sober for four and a half years. It’s an achievement he doesn’t take for granted. In March he posted images to Instagram. One showed him four years before he got sober. The second showed him more recently, after four years of sobriety.

Despite the eight-year age difference, most would agree he looks better in the more recent shot.

He also shared a message aimed directly at anyone concerned about their alcohol use.

“If your drinking is making you uncomfortable, tell a sober person. Any sober person. That’s what I did. I don’t remember what I said to him that day. And I don’t remember what he said to me. But I remember the way he made me feel. He made me feel like I was going to be okay. It was the last day I drank. October 28, 2018. I got sober because alcohol was ruining my life. I stay sober because my life got better. #sobriety #recovery”

Several studies have shown that LGBTQ+ people are more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs than the general population. Many turn to substance abuse to help deal with the pressure of life, numb feelings of shame or stigma or deal with trauma. Sometimes what began as a fun, recreational habit simply becomes more destructive and all-consuming.

Watkins is among several high-profile gay actors to have spoken out on their struggles with alcohol. Others include Colton Haynes and Cheyenne Jackson. The latter recently revealed he’d relapsed after ten years of sobriety, but was taking things one day at a time and recommitting to recovery.

Every such story is a powerful reminder to those experiencing alcohol or substance misuse issues that they are not alone, and that recovery is possible.

Watkins was born in Kansas City and attended the University of Indiana before pursuing his career as an actor. He came out publicly as gay in an interview in 2013 with Marie Osmond.

Tuc Watkins and Neil Patrick Harris in 'Uncoupled'
Tuc Watkins and Neil Patrick Harris in ‘Uncoupled’ (Netflix)

In the decade since coming out, he’s played notable gay roles many times.

Some people warned him earlier in his career about the risks of playing gay, of being typecast, but he says he simply didn’t want to turn down great roles, regardless of sexuality. He’s now an in-demand and reliable actor, often playing calm, self-assured characters.

“In real life, I wasn’t always as well-adjusted as I may appear to be in the characters that I play,” he told Thrillist last year. “I grew up with a fear of being gay, what being gay meant, feeling like it was not an option. It took me a long time to reconcile that I was okay being myself. To be able to play characters that are okay with themselves—maybe I’ve been able to do that because I’m standing on the shoulder of giants, of people who came before me, who paved a path towards equality that made it easier for me to do so.”

Outside of work, Watkins has been a father since welcoming twins via a surrogate in 2012. Since 2018, he has been in a relationship with fellow actor Andrew Rannells. The duo played opposite each other in the Broadway revival of The Boys In The Band and reprised their roles in the Netflix movie version.

One of Watkins’ upcoming TV projects is Unconventional, from writer and director Kit Williamson.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Tuc three times now,” Williams told Queerty via email. “On the third season of EastSiders, my new series Unconventional, and the indie film Retake. Tuc is a star in the literal sense of the word, shining light on and lifting up the people around him, and he is as talented and funny as he is dashing and kind.

“I was a fan of his before I became a friend, and I have seen firsthand how committed he is to supporting other queer artists and making art that matters.”

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