Former Party of Five actor Sean Maher has reveled he is gay.

In an Entertainment Weekly interview the 36-year-old said he had been hiding his sexuality for many years to protect his acting career.

Maher is currently starring in US television series The Playboy Club in which he plays a closeted gay man. He is well known for his role in 2005 science fiction film Serenity.

Maher said he was encouraged in his early career to play it straight.

“Right before I left New York, I had my manager tell me, ‘You need to get a girl on your arm or people will start talking,'” Maher told Entertainment Weekly.

“I remember telling him, ‘I’m gay.’ He had no idea, and he said, ‘All the more reason to get a girl on your arm.’ My agent was also like, ‘It’s best if you keep your options open. Maybe bisexual?’

“I went so far as to sleep with women a couple times… It was a very confusing time for me.”

Maher and his partner of nine years, Paul, have two children.

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