Jim Parsons has confirmed publicly for the first time that he is gay and in a long-term relationship.
This information, all but common knowledge among fans of the Emmy-winning star of “The Big Bang Theory,”was revealed in passing, multiple paragraphs into a Parsons profile that ran today in the New York Times.
While referring to his previous role in the play “The Normal Heart,” a drama about the AIDS epidemic in ‘80s-era New York, the article states, “‘The Normal Heart’ resonated with him on a few levels: Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship, and working with an ensemble again onstage was like nourishment, he said.” That buried detail was picked up and published by numerous media outlets.
His reasons for keeping this information private and deciding, at this moment, to confirm it are not clear. But it is clear that, aside from generating a few headlines, this information should not have any major impact on Parson’s life or work.
An actor’s sexual preferences have repeatedly proven to be a non-issue for contemporary audiences, at least in most cases. Neil Patrick Harris has continued to successfully play multiple roles, including that of Barney the womanizer on “How I Met Your Mother,” since he came out in 2006. Matt Bomer — who is reportedly slated to co-star with Parsons in a big-screen adaptation of “The Normal Heart” — also came out earlier this year in low-key fashion by thanking his partner while receiving a humanitarian award from the Desert AIDS Project. I am pretty sure that hasn’t stopped women or men of various sexual orientations from being eager to watch him shed clothes in the upcoming male stripper movie “Magic Mike.”
Parsons has played straight men and gay men and, in the case of “Big Bang’s” Sheldon, guys who are technically straight but so repressed that it doesn’t really matter one way or the other. Undoubtedly, he’ll continue to do so, even though, for now, he may face an even greater number of questions about his personal life from inquiring members of the media.