David Hyde Pierce Talks Coming Out & Marriage
By Jane Levere Posted Nov 15th 2010 03:17PM
In the most intimate portion of the discussion, Pierce opened up about being gay and why he finally decided to make his relationship with longtime partner Brian Hargrove public in 2007.
"It was very important to me never to pretend, never to hide," Pierce said. "In 1985, my partner Brian and I were new in the business and were not comfortable letting people know that we were gay. We had separate apartments. We went about our business."
"We met this lovely married couple down in the grocery store below the apartment building where we all stayed. A month later, we finally had the courage to come out and let them know that in fact we were a couple. They said, 'We knew when we saw you shopping.'"
Pierce admits he felt bullied into coming out and resents those who he believes were attempting to force his hand. "It wasn't so much about being uncomfortable being gay, it was about being uncomfortable ... Like the bully on the playground was pushing your face in the dirt saying, 'Say it, say it, say it.'" he recalls.
He and Hargrove married in California on October 24, 2008, before Proposition 8 reversed the California Supreme Court's decision to allow same-sex marriage in the state.
"I felt transformed ... We'd been together 26 years when we were legally allowed to get married in California. We went and did it, and we both agree it had a power, an importance to us in our lives that we can't really put into words, but that is totally palpable and intrinsic to who we are," Pierce said.
You've said your father did a lot of community theater as a young man, but that his father convinced him join his insurance business. Your grandfather was also an amateur actor. Did your father try to get you into insurance?
I remember calling and they [his parents] were so concerned I was going to be a music major, they thought there's no life there, he'll never make any money ... Ultimately, he and my mom both took great pleasure in my having made this choice, but there was no pressure either way.
Did you feel you were fulfilling the destiny of the family tree?
A friend of my mom and dad's came to see 'Curtains' and she came backstage and said, "Oh, my God, you're your father." She had seen him on stage. Whatever that is had been passed on like some sort of virus.
What was a favorite episode of 'Frasier' and why?
It's tough because there were so many that I loved, and I loved them all for different reasons. Frasier and Niles try to run a restaurant together. Niles trying to get ready for a date and setting fire to Frasier's apartment. Niles and Daphne getting together the first time he declared his love for her ... I don't have a favorite.
What similarities do you and Niles share?
I look at the reruns, and I realize we are no longer the same age. There's nothing crueler than syndicated television. Like most characters, he's a heightened version of me. A lot of the circumstantial stuff. I didn't know that much about wine -- I've since learned a lot. I wasn't a big opera person, but I've since learned a lot from playing the part ... Love of family, I think that was very important in those boys, as a grounding for all the wackiness. They really did care about each other and about their family, and I think that's something I share.
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