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Sean Maher, best known for roles on Firefly, Make It or Break It and now The Playboy Club, is gay. The actor made the admission today in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.

“It’s so liberating. It was interesting to be coming to have a conversation that I was always afraid to have,” Maher tells the magazine, adding: “This is my coming out ball. I’ve been dying to do this.”

Maher lives in Los Angeles with a partner named Paul. The couple has two kids, Sophia Rose, 4, and Liam Xavier, 14 months.

David Joyner Photo
The 36-year old actor says he was never asked about his sexuality in the past, but painted “a different picture” than the truth whenever the topic was remotely broached.

“I’m 22, I move to L.A., and it’s such a cliché, but the day I arrive, publicists from the show took me out to The Ivy for lunch,” he says. “They’re telling me, ‘You know, gosh, we’d really appreciate it if you could keep your girlfriend on the side because we want to appeal to the female demographic of the show.’”

Maher was afraid to come out over the years because he wanted to get leading man roles, saying:

“I’m thinking, What is the potential that if they caught wind that they had cast a gay lead actor that they would fire me? I was young, I was 22. I didn’t know anything. So that sort of started the idea of, okay, well, I’m working a lot, I guess I’ll just keep that gay part of my life on the back burner for now. I went so far as to sleep with women a couple times. It was a very confusing time for me.”

But remaining in the closer was so “exhausting and miserable,” Maher concludes, and his role on The Playboy Club – in which he actually play a closeted married man – finally made this decision easy.

“I was working on other stuff, and then this role came up, which was like a light bulb going off. I was like, This is perfect. I want to do this, and I want to use it as a platform to come out.”