Actor Jonathan Bennett. (Getty/ Paul Archuleta)
Mean Girls star Jonathan Bennett has opened up about how he was bullied so badly at school for being gay that he developed stomach ulcers.
In an Instagram post for World Theatre Day, Bennett, who played Aaron Samuels in the cult classic Mean Girls, shared how high school theatre was the only place to give him “the tiniest bit of refuge” from the homophobic bullying.
Sharing a video of himself at 16 years old, he wrote: “I give you a video of a 16-year-old gay boy in Ohio. He has a pitchy voice, no rhythm, and can’t dance to save his life.
“He’s awkward, his teeth are too big for his face, and he lives in fear every single day because he doesn’t fit in with the rest of the boys in his class.
“He constantly gets pushed into a locker by an asshole named Justin and when he walks down the halls he gets called a faggot. “He cries himself to sleep every night and develops stomach ulcers because of the stress and the homophobia in his small town.
“He thinks really dark thoughts and lives miserably in secret.”
The theatre, he said, was a place where “for the first time in his life, he feels safe”, where he “isn’t ridiculed for being different, he’s celebrated”.
He continued: “Grown-up Jonathan wants to say thank you to every single person who has ever had anything to do with any theatre anywhere at any time.
“If you were an actor, a stage manager, lighting, sound, wardrobe, front of the house, back of the house, even if you just bought a ticket and supported theatre.
“You did so much more than that. You made a safe place for so many struggling little Jonathans out there.”
Sending a message to anyone who felt a connection to his story, Bennett added: “Know that you are not alone and that you are a star and you deserve to shine bright.
And never stop singing and dancing, no matter how good you are because it’s not about being perfect, it’s about shining your light. And the world NEEDS your light. The curtain’s up, the stage is set, all the little Jonathan’s out there… ‘You’re on!'”
Jonathan Bennett is newly-engaged to partner Jaymes Vaughan.
In December last year, Jonathan Bennett announced his engagement to partner Jaymes Vaughan, who proposed with an original song.
In a video, shared with People, Vaughan held up a sign which read: “We never did find our song, so I wrote a song for you.”
After playing the heartfelt song, he told Bennett: “Every single word of that song is true. There’s not a single thing in my life that I haven’t been 100 percent sure of until you came along, and that thing that I am 100 percent sure of is you.
Before getting down on one knee, he added: “So I want to spend forever, every single day, telling you how much I love you.”