Russell Tovey. (David Levenson/Getty Images)
British actor Russell Tovey has revealed that his father thought he could be “cured” of being gay by undergoing “hormone treatment”.
The Years and Years star, 39, came out to his parents when he was 18, starting a years-long journey for mother Carole Haynes and father George Tovey to accept his sexuality.
Tovey told The Sunday Times that while both his parents struggled with the idea of him being gay, his father especially misunderstood and needed time to embrace him again.
“I don’t think either of my parents was homophobic,” he said, “they just didn’t know any gay people or anyone with gay kids.
“They had nothing to cling to. My dad thought it could be cured.
“He was scared about what my life would be like. To him, being gay was a road of pitfalls and unhappiness – out of love he wanted to correct this weakness, to put cotton wool around me and protect me from all that.”
(L to R) Russell Tovey, mother Carole Haynes, and father George Tovey. (David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage)
Carole, who was also interviewed by the newspaper, added: “George had a hard time with it. It took him about three years to come to terms with it.
“I think it was to do with pride, his idea of what makes you a man. He thought we’d somehow made Russell gay.
“He said: ‘We’ll get him hormone treatment.’ He found it hard to see that Russ was happy and we had to accept it.”
Russell Tovey said that his coming out was “particularly hard” for her “because we’ve always been so close”. “I have a great relationship with both my parents now,” he continued.
“My relationship with my mum is just heaven. She loves hanging out with my mates.
“I take her to events and opening nights, she talks to everyone and wants to know everything.”
Carole added: “Russ has opened my eyes to a world I’d never have known and I absolutely love it. “A few years ago he was working on a series and he sent me first-class plane tickets to go and stay with him in San Francisco and we went to the Folsom Street Fair,” which is part of the city’s annual Leather Pride Week.
‘Well, I saw things I never dreamt existed,” she continued.
“How people breathe in their masks with collars and leads I don’t know. They weren’t hurting anyone — well, some of them were hurting each other — but consensually.
“Russ and I were in hysterics the whole time.”