Matt Bomer coming out: What took so long?

Bomer finally waved a white flag of surrender to a massive fan base that's been calling for him to come out for years. Why the long wait, and why now?

Talk about hiding your light under a bushel! Why do a slew of handsome stars still feel the need to pretend we don’t know they’re gay? (Previously: Lance Bass, Clay Aiken, Ricky Martin, Zachary Quinto … )

Although the story developed in stages over the past week, Matt Bomer’s coming out story went viral today. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, presumably breaking the hearts of many single ladies – and men, too, since the coming-out involved acknowledging his long-time partner, Simon Halls, and their three children. Yes, one of television’s hottest actors is officially off the market.

This past Saturday, while being recognized for New Generation Arts and Activism at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, the “White Collar” actor thanked his family, “Simon, Kit, Walker, Henry,” for “teaching [him] what unconditional love is.”

By naming his longtime partner, Simon Halls, it was 34-year-old Bomer’s first broad acknowledgment of his sexuality, following years of evasive answers to the press – despite such obstacles as widespread awareness of his lifestyle and even photos circulating of him kissing men. Kit, Walker and Henry are the couple’s children.

Last week’s OK! Magazine also indirectly outed Bomer, citing his relationship with Halls and their children after he brought up the idea of starting a charity to benefit kids.

But why did it take so long for the contented family man to admit that his home life existed? And why do today’s potential gay icons still often feel the need to hide their preferences from the public eye? In 2012, being a doting husband to your husband and raising a crop of cute kiddos isn’t exactly something to be ashamed about.

Last month, Neil Patrick Harris and “husband” David Burtka decorated the cover and pages of Out magazine’s Love Issue with a story about how they fell in love and how they continue to stay in love over time, especially as they’ve started a family (the couple has twin infants). The story received acclaim for positing stable, loving gay partnership in a frank and honest light – looking just the same as anyone else’s relationship and not threatening to overturn society as we know it.

With three adorable children and a stable relationship, Bomer could be part of yet another prominent model of the modern nuclear family at a time when all eyes are on the issue during a pivotal political moment; for example, N.Y. neighbor New Jersey is the most recent state to face the possibility of legalizing same-sex marriage.

And coming out isn’t exactly going to hamper one’s career in the entertainment industry.

Upcoming appearances for the newly out-and-proud actor include starring in the movie adaptation of “The Normal Heart,” and a guest role on Fox’s “Glee.” One thing these both have in common is director/creator Ryan Murphy, who’s openly gay and professionally represented by Bomer’s partner, an entertainment agent with Slate PR.

Bomer is also signed on to share a stage with George Clooney in “8,” a play about California’s Prop 8 ban on gay marriage, which was overturned last week.

And he’s even going to make an appearance in the pages of a new fictional novel, “The Wolf Gift” – though he might not know it yet. In our recent interview with Anne Rice, the supernatural author admits that her latest nonhuman protagonist, Reuben, a werewolf, is actually based on Matt Bomer. She says, “It was his beauty, his voice, his quiet manner – all of that from ‘White Collar.’ Really, I’m just a big fan.” Rice acknowledges that she’s pen pals with Jeff Eastin, executive producer of “White Collar,” and says that Bomer does not yet know he’s the muse for her wolf.

The “White Collar” actor may be a vocal advocate for marriage equality and HIV/AIDS awareness, working with foundations such as the Trevor Project and GLSEN, but could meanwhile be sending out equally strong, or even stronger, messages simply by being who he is rather than acting like he has something to hide.


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