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Star Trek’s Wilson Cruz reveals his dad kicked him out on Christmas Eve after he came out as gay

Nick Duffy
·3-min read

Wilson Cruz has revealed that he lived in his car for months before his acting breakthrough after being thrown out of his parents’ house on Christmas Eve for being gay.

The Star Trek: Discovery actor spoke about his difficult coming out experience on the At Home with the Creative Coalition podcast.

He recalled landing his breakthrough role as a young gay character in 1994 teen sitcom My So-Called Life before he was out to his parents.

Cruz said: “I was out to my intimate circle of friends, to my youngest brother… in my circle, I was out to everybody, but I wasn’t out to my parents. I think my parents were basically the last people to find out.

“So I hadn’t told them, then I got cast in My So-Called Life. We made the pilot of My So-Called Life, I still hadn’t told them.”

Wilson Cruz recalls getting kicked out on Christmas Eve

Cruz explained that the show was not immediately picked up after he shot the pilot, and that there was an entire year before it went into production.

He added: “When we finally got the pick-up, I realised that’s when I had to tell my family.”

Star Trek: Discovery actor Wilson Cruz
Star Trek: Discovery actor Wilson Cruz (Tasos Katopodis/Getty)

He continued: “I made a bet with the universe, the next time one of them asks me, I will come out to them. My mother asked first, and it was OK, she had a Catholic Latina mom breakdown and then she was fine.

“My father asked me on Christmas Eve, a couple months later… we had all of our family there, and my father asked me why I hadn’t brought a girl. I had brought my best friend from high school, a guy. He was drunk and decided that was when he was going to ask.

“There, in the bathroom on Christmas Eve, my father asked me and I answered honestly, and he kicked me out of the house.”

Actor spent months living out of his car

Cruz continued: “We had about three months before we started working on [My So-Called Life] so I had about three months that I had to figure out what to do. So a combination of staying with friends and staying in my car and doing what I had to do in order to survive three months, and I did.

“My father and I didn’t speak for a year, and in that year we made 18 episodes, and one of those episodes was about my character’s own situation where he was kicked out of his house because he was gay.

“Unbeknownst to me, my father watched that episode when it aired and, as the credits are rolling, he calls me and says, ‘I think it’s time that we talk.’

“That was the beginning of a real relationship with my father, and it all came because of a show that so many people still come to me and say, ‘That show changed my life.’

“I say, ‘Me too.’ It gave me my father, it gave me my family back.”