coming out

Amber Heard Says If Every Gay Hollywood Actor Came Out Tomorrow, ‘This Would Be a Nonissue in a Month’

Amber Heard. Photo: Randy Shropshire/Getty Images

While a guest at The Economist’s Pride & Prejudice LGBTQ summit Thursday, Amber Heard looked back at her decision to come out as bisexual in 2010, a decision, which, as she recalls, was just a matter of responding to an interview question truthfully. “I just answered honestly. I could tell by the look on this person’s face it was a big deal. My poor publicist,” the actress said, recalling the After Ellen interview in which she discussed her then girlfriend Tasya van Ree. “Then I realized the gravity of what I had done and why so many people — studio execs, agents, advisors — did not want this coming before my name. I became attached to a label. I’ve never seen myself defined by the person I’m with.” While Heard’s sexuality was a sticking point for some in the industry, she remained unfazed. “As a leading lady, there’s a certain amount of wish fulfillment. I was asked, ‘How is anyone going to invest in you romantically if they think you’re unavailable?’” The actress recalls. “I said, ‘Watch me do it.’”

Having run the gauntlet of coming out in Hollywood, Heard now applauds her fellow actresses, women she sees being open about their sexuality. “I stand here now amongst many of my romantic leading lady peers who are out and fluid. I’m one of many now, and I’m working,” she said. “If we’re meant to reflect the world around us, the whole point of telling stories and reaching audiences is to challenge the status quo, to push the envelope. Not just to meet the status quo. We’re in a unique position to do this. We need to be actively pushing.” One of the most important steps toward progress, she suggests, is her male counterparts deciding to push back harder. Said Heard, “If every gay man that I know personally in Hollywood came out tomorrow, then this would be a nonissue in a month.”

Amber Heard: Gay Male Actors Need to Come Out