15 Straight Actors Who Have Played Gay Characters

Will Jada Smith
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Jan. 28 2015, Updated 2:08 p.m. ET

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While it may be pretty typical to see a gay character on television or in movies these days, there was a time (not long ago!) when such a portrayal was seen as a brave career move by an actor. Here are a few who have played against type!

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Joshua Jackson New Show

Joshua Jackson played a devious gay character who hooked up with a guy for the purpose of outing him in Cruel Intentions.

Will Jada Smith
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Early in his acting career, Will Smith received critical accolades for portraying a gay character in Six Degrees of Separation.

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Shay Mitchell
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Shay Mitchell portrays the lesbian character Emily on Pretty Little Liars, whose family struggles with her sexuality.

Darren Criss

Blaine proposed to his boyfriend on Glee, but his alter ego Darren Criss is straight.

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Naya Rivera
Source: Todd Williamson/AP/Invision

Naya Rivera plays lesbian character Santana on Glee, but in real life she's engaged to rapper Big Sean.

Andy Samberg FOX Party

Andy Samberg played the ironically masculine, even bro-y gay younger brother of Paul Rudd's character in I Love You, Man.

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Paul Rudd
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Paul Rudd himself played a gay best friend whom Jennifer Aniston's character developed feelings for in The Object of My Affection.

Rashida Jones
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Rashida Jones and Zooey Deschanel played a lesbian couple in My Idiot Brother.

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While his on-screen husband is gay in real life, Modern Family star Eric Stonestreet is straight.

Oscars 2014 olivia wilde
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Olivia Wilde's character served as a lesbian experimentation for Marissa Cooper on The OC.

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Adam Pally
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Adam Pally played perhaps the least stereotypical gay character on TV on Happy Endings.

Debra Messing Eric McCormack

He played one of the most iconic gay characters in television history, but Will & Grace star Eric McCormack is married to a woman.

Jake Gyllenhaal Hottie

Straight actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger played a passionate couple in the Oscar-nominated Brokeback Mountain.


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