Colton Haynes' personal journey has not been short on heartache.
The Grinder star covers the September issue of OUT magazine, where he discusses the struggles of growing up gay in a small town, and being encouraged to hide his sexuality when he entered show business.
"I feel really bad that I had to lie for so long," says Haynes, 28. "But I was told that was the only way I was going to be successful."
"When you’re young in this industry, people take advantage of you, and they literally tell you that your dreams are going to come true," he explains. "If you believe that, you’ll do anything. And you do believe it, especially if you’re from Kansas."
But the Arrow and Teen Wolf actor's identity struggle weighed on him in his personal life as well.
Haynes' father committed suicide when he was younger, which he admits brought him feelings of guilt, even though the two had not been close.
"I’m the last person in the world who would say, 'Oh, my dad – pity me,'" he tells the publication. "But I was told that my dad killed himself because he found out I was gay."
"I lost it and was like, 'How could you say something like that?'" he reveals. "And no one will ever really know the truth. But my brother and my mom went to pick up my dad’s stuff, and the only picture on his fridge was my eighth-grade graduation picture. So I was just like, f**k."
With all the pain and anxiety Haynes has long carried with him, he admits he was taken aback when The Real O’Neals actor Noah Galvin slammed his sexuality confession during an interview with Vulture in June.
"When I came out, Noah tweeted, 'Welcome to the family,' and 'So proud of you.' I have the tweets saved on my phone," he says. "Then, all of a sudden, I’m the worst, I’m a terrible person, and I’m a shame of the gay community."
"It was really an emotional thing for me," Haynes shares. "And for that to be discredited by someone who has never met me was upsetting."
"He has no idea what I’ve been through," he adds. "And I can’t sit here and have a conversation about Noah because I don’t know him either."
Shortly after Galvin's interview, the actor apologized on Instagram, writing, "I have no right to dictate how or when anybody comes out of the closet; I know how difficult and scary the process of coming out can be, and the last thing I would ever want to do is make it scarier. For anyone."