Fuller House actor Juan Pablo Di Pace is opening up about his decision to come out publicly as gay.
The 39-year-old actor publicly announced he is gay during a TedXTalk that was released on YouTube in late June, and he said he felt it was his “responsibility” to be open about his sexuality.
In his speech, Di Pace said he hid the fact he was gay until he was offered the “role of a lifetime” as Jesus Christ in the NBC series A.D. The Bible Continues, and it wasn’t until then he realized it was okay to be gay.
“Of all the people in the world that could play this part, they gave it to me. So there I am, hanging on the cross, in Morocco, and I look up at the sky, and I think, ‘You could still strike me down with lightening. Are you sure you want me to play your son?’” Di Pace said during the speech.
“Instead, what I felt was an overwhelming feeling of love and acceptance and freedom that I could never even put into words,” he said. “A message from God? Maybe.”
He revealed that it was students who encouraged him to be more open about his personal life when it came to his career, because although he had been open with everyone close to him, it wasn’t something he was open about when it came to his career.
“I really felt that they sort of gave me a favor, in a way,” Di Pace says. “I’ve been out for 20 years. It’s not like this is a secret that all of a sudden I needed to bring out to the surface.”
“I live my life freely,” he continues. “I told the most important people in my life 20 years ago, my parents and my friends and people that are close to me.”
He now says he has a feeling of relief since coming out publicly. “It is something that I was keeping, you know, quiet for a reason thinking that perhaps this in my industry was something to guard, because there’s always the paranoia with artists as well,” he says.
“Paranoia that, I don’t know if this is going to be a good piece of information because you don’t want to typecast, you want to be able to play all the colors of the rainbow, so to speak,” Di Pace continues. “I felt that I now had the responsibility to talk to people to a generation about what I found out about my life, and we all have different perspectives of life.”
The actor also had a message for anyone still feeling like they can’t be open with their sexuality: “It’s your responsibility to grab whatever life gives you and make something out of it, even if it’s painful, because that’s life.”
“It’s not a magic thing. There’s no magic wand. It takes huge amounts of courage and bravery to do this,” he adds.