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Jonathan Groff Admits It Took Years for Him to 'Understand the Power of Being Prideful': 'Grateful to Be Living in This Time'

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Source: Getty for Out Magazine

Jun. 7 2024, Published 4:10 p.m. ET

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Jonathan Groff publicly came out in 2009, but it wasn't something he immediately digested.

"When I came out of the closet, I said to my parents, 'I'm gay, but I am not going to be in a parade or anything.' I was still so ashamed. Even when I came out, it took years for me to really own and feel pride — and to understand the power of being prideful. Growing up in Pennsylvania, pride of anything is negative because we're supposed to be humble. It wasn't until I came out that I understood the value of being prideful — not for yourself, but for everybody else," the Broadway star, 39, exclusively told OK! on Monday, June 3, while attending the Advocate + Out Magazine Pride Cover Launch, hosted by equalpride and sponsored by Hornitos Tequila, in New York City.

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Jonathan Groff came out publicly in 2009.

Now, the Glee alum gets to be a role model for others coming forward. "The more we're able to tell our stories and be our authentic selves, the more it inspires other people," he shared. "I'm also so grateful to be living in this time, where being gay is suddenly cool! I'm more blown away by the generation behind me. I'm inspired by them. I'm being pushed out of my comfort zone by them and learning from them. That to me has been honestly exciting than being out myself — it's watching the bravery and joy and the activism of the generation behind me."

Groff noted the event was "so cool" to be at, as it toasted the LGBTQ+ and allied theater community, including Wayne Brady, Sam Champion and more.

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The 'Glee' alum appears in 'Merrily We Roll Along.'

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In the meantime, Groff stars in the revival of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s Merrily We Roll Along alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Lindsay Mendez.

The star gushed over his tight bond with his cast and admitted he's floored to be nominated for a Tony. "It's so exciting. It's been a dream to go to the Tony Awards as a theater nerd. It's like the Oscars for theater!" he quipped. "I taught a unit about the Tony Awards when I was at a summer theater camp back home in Pennsylvania. To be a part of the Tony's, especially with Spring Awakening, was such a big deal. It only gets more meaningful as time goes by."

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Wayne Brady and Jonathan Groff get into MARG MODE with Hornitos at the Out & Advocate Magazine Pride Cover Party.

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"With Merrily We Roll Along, it's a show about reflection, and we're all so in love with each other," he said. "That's all you can hope for — and to have Dan and Lindsay be nominated, too, and our director and the show, it's just this great joyride. It's been amazing."

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The stars were honored at the June 3 event.

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As for whether or not Groff has his speech prepared if he wins, he said, "I will definitely write something down. I always have. Even the years I lost, I always did just in case because it's such a big opportunity. You might not get it back. It's like a little window that may open."

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