Actor Maher Reveals He’s Gay

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September 26, 2011 | 6:00pm EST

Actor Sean Maher has announced he’s gay in a new magazine article.
The 36-year-old former Party of Five star reveals he’s been hiding his sexuality for years for fear of wrecking his acting career.

In a new Entertainment Weekly interview, he admits he even tried sleeping with women after beingadvised by his former manager and agent to keep the news to himself.

He tells the publication, “Right before I left New York, I had my manager tell me, ‘You need to get a girl on your arm or people will start talking.’ I remember telling him, ‘I’m gay.’ He had no idea, and he said, ‘All the more reason to get a girl on your arm.’ My agent was also like, ‘It’s best if you keep your options open. Maybe bisexual?’

“I went so far as to sleep with women a couple times… It was a very confusing time for me.”

But Maher, who is part of the cast of new U.S. TV show The Playboy Club, finally feels comfortable going public with the truth behind his private life, revealing his family revolves around his partner of nine years, Paul, and their two children, Sophia Rose, four, and Liam Xavier, 14 months.

He says, “This is my ‘coming out’ ball. I’ve been dying to do this…

“I have these beautiful children and this extraordinary family. To think in any way shape or form that that’s wrong or that there’s shame in that or that there’s something to hide actually turns my stomach.”