In Quotes

TV’s first gay teen was a then-unknown Ryan Phillippe, and he gets how big a deal that is

“There had never been a gay teenager represented on television up until that point: It’s before Will & Grace, it’s before Ellen came out, it’s before any of that stuff. I remember the fan mail that we would get, my mother and I would get, from gay teenagers or from parents of gay teenagers who found a way in to relate to or talk to their child through the show. Entertainment media can do those things, it can make people think differently or see a different side of something and I do remember and appreciating that — even back then when I was only a teenager myself. But in terms of like the larger view, I didn’t have a full understanding of how important it could have been, but I’m proud to have done it, I’m proud that that’s something I can say was a part of my career.”Ryan Phillippe to Too Fab, reflecting on playing the first ever out gay teen on TV. Phillippe played “Billy Douglas” on the ABC soap opera One Life to Live from 1992-1993; it was his first professional acting gig.