hollywood's closet

White Collar‘s Matt Bomer Hides His Sexuality Because It, Uh, Makes Him a Better Actor

Matt Bomer‘s curious relationship with the media about his sexuality continues in Elle, a magazine of women’s fashions, and arguably one of the friendliest places to be a homosexual famous person (aside from this website, of course). As the out gay star of White Collar, Bomer still refuses to acknowledge the increasingly large elephant in the room. Call it Anderson Cooper Syndrome: Everyone knows what’s going on here, but we dare not speaks its name, for fear of ruining a “brand.”

Yes, there are pictures of Bomer being gay on the Internet. But so far, the celeb-friendly entertainment media — undoubtedly assisted by Bomer’s partner, publicity guru Simon Halls (until December, the chief of PMK, and now at Slate PR with old friends Stephen Huvane and Robin Baum) — have treated it with kid gloves. People named Bomer its “Sexiest Rising Star,” without mentioning which team he plays for.

And in the March issue of Elle, the magazine notes Bomer “makes female viewers fantasize about being his next mark.” Haha. So true.

But writer Corrie Pikul pushes the Bomer’s Sexuality Storyline one step further: “While Bomer hopes to parlay his new found fame into more TV work … he’s still not comfortable talking about his personal life in interviews. ‘My favorite actors are people who I don’t know anything about, and I can project any characters onto them,’ he says. ‘They focus on their work and then go live their lives with the people they love.'” (Just like Rock Hudson, eh?) It’s hard to tell whether Elle‘s readership will interpret this as a straight guy playing coy (i.e. he has a girlfriend, but doesn’t want women to stop thinking they could have him) or a gay man keeping one foot in the closet, but it’s an obvious means of escaping personal questions. And, might we add, an expertly crafted one.

This interview follows Details magazine asking him about the gay rumors, where he offered a similar line: “I don’t care about that at all. I’m completely happy and fulfilled in my personal life.”

What’s notable, then, is that Bomer is still participating in magazine interviews that, frankly, he doesn’t have to do. Bomer must speak to TV Guide and Entertainment Weekly; Details and Elle aren’t exactly requirements.

Which means giving those magazines access, by sitting down for a chat, could come with a demand from his reps that no personal questions are asked. The practice is standard in Hollywood, and fluff mags are comfortable abiding by the rules just to get their glossy photos and pullquotes. But Bomer isn’t doing that. He isn’t requiring the press to avoid the question altogether. Instead, he’s just dodging their inquiries.

It might be his way of (subconsciously? purposefully?) laying the groundwork for a quiet reveal of his sexuality down the line. We imagine, in preparing the publicity for the the fourth or fifth season of White Collar, Bomer casually hands out an interview where he mentions his partner and their kids. It won’t be a People cover announcing “I’m Gay.” But it will be an on-the-record acknowledgment of why he heads to the set each day.