Three years ago, Sean Hayes publicly came out as gay, but the former "Will & Grace" star thinks it wasn't soon enough.

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, the actor was asked about the controversy surrounding his "Will & Grace" character, Jack McFarland, and the fact that he might be "too gay."

"I was so young," Hayes said. "It made me go back in the closet [with the media] because I was so overwhelmed at 26 or 27. I didn't want the responsibility, I didn't know how to handle the responsibility of speaking for the gay community. I always felt like I owed them a huge apology for coming out too late. Some people in the gay community were very upset with me for not coming out on their terms. They don't stop to think about what's going on in somebody's personal life, and the struggles that they're having. It was all very scary. We got death threats. It was a really rough time for me, but I was also having the time of my life."

The 43-year-old faced years of criticism from The Advocate and other media outlets following the debut of the show in 1998 for his failing to address the "open secret" that was his sexual orientation, Us Weekly previously noted.

But in 2010, Hayes defended himself in an interview with The Advocate saying: “I am who I am. I was never in, as they say. Never." Adding, “I feel like I’ve contributed monumentally to the success of the gay movement in America, and if anyone wants to argue that, I’m open to it. You’re welcome, Advocate.”

Now, in his new NBC series, "Sean Saves the World," he plays a single gay father raising a teenage daughter. Although the plotline may be progressive, he claims he isn't trying to tout any message about gay parenthood, even though he is more honest about his own lifestyle nowadays.

"I want to make people laugh first, and that's it," he explained to the LA Times. "If a byproduct of that is enlightening somebody to something they wouldn't otherwise have been exposed to, then great, but that's certainly not the agenda or the intent of the show."

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    "Prison Break" star Wentworth Miller <a href="" target="_blank">came out</a> in August 2013 after being invited to attend the St. Petersburg International Film Festival in Russia. In the midst of massive anti-gay violence and legislation throughout the country at that time, he decided it was time to go public about his sexuality. "Thank you for your kind invitation. As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, it would make me happy to say yes," the 41-year-old wrote in a letter to the festival's director, which was posted on GLAAD's website. "However, as a gay man, I must decline."

  • Jodie Foster, 2013

    The "Silence of the Lambs" star ended years of rampant media speculation when she casually came out of the closet while accepting her Cecil B. Demille award at the 2013 Golden Globes. "I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age," she said in the speech. "In those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends, and family, coworkers and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her."

  • Gillian Anderson, 2012

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  • Anderson Cooper, 2012

    Anderson Cooper's sexuality had been <a href="">scrutinized for years</a> but it wasn't until July 2012 that he finally addressed the issue when he <a href="">came out in an email </a> to his friend and fellow journalist, Andrew Sullivan, this summer. In Cooper's message, which was posted on Sullivan's blog, "The Dish," on <em>The Daily Beast</em>, the CNN anchor states, "The fact is, I'm gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."

  • Lana Wachowski, 2012

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  • Raven-Symone, 2013

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  • Zachary Quinto, 2011

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  • Meredith Baxter, 2009

    In December 2009 Baxter, most famous for playing Elyse Keaton on '80s sitcom "Family Ties," went on the "Today Show" and told Matt Lauer that she was a lesbian. Baxter said, "Some people would say, well, you're living a lie and, you know, the truth is -- not at all. This has only been for the past seven years."

  • Frank Ocean, 2012

    No mainstream black male hip-hop artist had ever come out until <a href="">Frank Ocean did in July 2012</a>, just before he debuted his first solo album, "Channel Orange." The singer-songwriter posted a Tumblr post which read, in part, "4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide.” After that, Ocean received support from fellow hip-hop artists Jay-Z (and wife, Beyoncé), 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes and more. Daryl Hannah, director of media and community partnerships for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said, "[The support for Frank is] an extension of the overall kind of support we’re seeing across the country for LGBT people, and not just in a broad sense, but specifically from iconic members of the black community.”

  • Wanda Sykes, 2008

    The comedian and actress came out in November 2008 <a href="" target="_hplink">while speaking at an anti-Prop 8 rally</a> in Las Vegas. Sykes said in part: <blockquote>"I got married Oct. 25, I don't really talk about my sexual orientation, I felt like I was living my life, I wasn't in the closet, but I was just living my life. Everybody who knows me personally, they know I'm gay. And that's the way people should be able to live our lives, really. We shouldn't have to be standing out here demanding something we automatically should have as citizens of this country."</blockquote>

  • Lucas Cruikshank, 2013

    This Nickelodeon star and YouTube sensation <a href="" target="_blank">came out at 19</a> via an Internet question and answer session with friend and actress Jennifer Veal, telling fans "I'm gay." "My family and friends have known for like three years, I just haven't felt the need to announce it on the Internet," he explained. At one point during the video he turned and asked Veal: "How come you didn't have to make a video saying you're straight?"

  • Matt Bomer, 2012

    The 34-year-old "White Collar" hunk <a href="" target="_hplink">thanked his partner</a> Simon Halls and his three children during Saturday's Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, where he received the New Generation Arts and Activism Award for his work in the fight against HIV/AIDS. "I'd really especially like to thank my beautiful family: Simon, Kit, Walker, Henry," he told the crowd. "Thank you for teaching me what unconditional love is. You will always be my proudest accomplishment."

  • Anne Burrell, 2012

    "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef" host Anne Burrell confirmed she's a lesbian and in a committed relationship with a woman, just days after "Chopped" host Ted Allen made a reference to her sexuality in a radio interview. "Anne doesn't feel she was outed," Burrell's rep told Page Six. "She has made no secret of her relationship." The rep went on to note, "Her significant other is a very private woman. They have been together for a couple of years and spend a lot of time together."

  • Adam Lambert, 2009

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  • Jim Parsons, 2012

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  • Laura Jane Grace, 2012

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  • Cynthia Nixon, 2004

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  • Sam Champion, 2012

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  • Kelly McGillis, 2009

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  • Chris Colfer, 2009

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  • Ezra Miller, 2012

    Breakout, up-and-coming actor Ezra Miller, who stars in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," <a href="">came out as queer in an interview with Out magazine</a> in August. The 20-year-old actor, who's also known for his big screen roles on "City Island" and "We Need To Talk About Kevin," told Out: "I have a lot of really wonderful friends who are of very different sexes and genders. I am very much in love with no one in particular."

  • Sara Gilbert, 2010

    Sara Gilbert, who's best known for her role on "Roseanne," <a href="">officially came out in 2010</a>. At that time, she was getting ready to launch "The Talk," a daytime talk show which focuses on parenthood and families, so Gilbert felt compelled to acknowledge her sexuality. “I don’t ever really think of things as out or in,” Gilbert said. “I just think I am who I am, and when topics come up that are appropriate, I’ll talk about them and share when it seems right.”

  • Chaz Bono, 2009

    Chaz Bono revealed his plan to transition in May 2009. broke the story <a href="" target="_hplink">via a prepared statement</a> from Bono's publicist that read, in part: <blockquote>"Yes, it's true -- Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity... He is proud of his decision and grateful for the support and respect that has already been shown by his loved ones. It is Chaz's hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his 'coming out' did nearly 20 years ago."</blockquote>

  • Andrew Rannells, 2012

    Andrew Rannells has had a stellar year. Since nabbing a Tony nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for the Broadway blockbuster "The Book of Mormon," Rannells went on to star in HBO's "Girls" and ABC's "The New Normal." In November, the 34 year old was named to Out magazine's prestigious <a href="">"OUT100" list</a>. “I feel very proud to be a part of The New Normal,” Rannells told Out. “I hope that it’s considered to be a part of the evolution of gay relationships on television. Coming from Nebraska, it’s exciting to me that people I went to grade school with, people that I grew up going to church with, are watching the show.”

  • Joanna Johnson, 2012

    "Bold and the Beautiful" star Joanna Johnson became daytime soap opera's only active "out" actor when she said <a href="">she was a lesbian in May</a>. Johnson said she feared coming out would prohibit her from getting acting roles. Johnson told <em>TV Guide</em> in an exclusive interview that she's married to L.A. club promoter Michelle Agnew, with whom she has two children, five-year-old Julian and Harlow, who is two.

  • George Michael, 1998

    After being caught performing a "lewd act" in a public restroom, Michael came out to CNN in April 1998. <a href="" target="_hplink">Michael said</a>, "This is as good of a time as any... I want to say that I have no problem with people knowing that I'm in a relationship with a man right now. I have not been in a relationship with a woman for almost 10 years." Later that year Michael spoofed the incident in the music video for his single "Outside."

  • Don Lemon, 2011

    The CNN news anchor came out to the <em>New York Times</em> in May 2011. Lemon <a href="" target="_hplink">told the paper</a>, "It's quite different for an African-American male... It's about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You're taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away."

  • Todd Glass, 2012

    Comedian Todd Glass <a href="">came out in January</a> in an episode of the "WTF with Marc Maron" podcast. Glass cited the slew of LGBT teen suicides as his impetus for coming out. He told Maron: "I cannot listen to stories about kids killing themselves any longer without thinking [to myself], 'When are you going to have a little blood on your shirt for not being honest about who you are?'"

  • Rosie Pierri, 2012

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  • Jonathan Knight, 2011

    The New Kids On The Block singer was out-ed by fellow '80s teen pop star Tiffany in January 2011 when she revealed she dated Knight before "he became gay later." In response, Knight posted a message on his website <a href="" target="_hplink">stating in part</a>: <blockquote>"I have never been outed by anyone but myself! I did so almost twenty years ago. I never know that I would have to do it all over again publicly just because I reunited with NKOTB! I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay!"</blockquote>

  • Sean Maher, 2011

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  • Ricky Martin, March 2010

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  • Sean Hayes, 2010

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  • Lady Sovereign, 2010

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  • T.R. Knight, 2007

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  • Kristy McNichol, 2012

    People magazine reported In January 2012 that Kristy McNichol, who was beloved for playing Buddy Lawrence in the '70s show "Family," for which she won an Emmy, and later Barbara Weston on the "Golden Girls" spin-off "Empty Nest," revealed she is a lesbian because she is "approaching 50" and wants to "be open about who I am." <a href="">McNichol</a> also cited the wave of antigay bullying stories for coming out, hoping to help bullied LGBT youth who need support.

  • Benji Schwimmer, 2012

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  • Clay Aiken, 2008

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  • Orlando Cruz, 2012

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  • Chely Wright, 2010

    Country singer Chely Wright <a href=",,20365936,00.html" target="_hplink">came out in May 2010</a>. She told <em>People</em> magazine, "There had never, ever been a country music artist who had acknowledged his or her homosexuality... I wasn't going to be the first." But she changed her mind and said of her decision, "Nothing in my life has been more magical than the moment I decided to come out."

  • Mika, 2012

    The flamboyant singer-songwriter played coy about his sexuality for many years before finally coming out as gay in the September 2012 issue of Instinct magazine. Mika <a href="">told the magazine</a>: <blockquote>"If you ask me am I gay, I say yeah... Are these songs about my relationship with a man? I say yeah. And it’s only through my music that I’ve found the strength to come to terms with my sexuality beyond the context of just my lyrics. This is my real life."</blockquote>

  • Lance Bass, 2006

    The 'N Sync pop star came out on the cover of <em>People</em> magazine in July 2006. When asked why he decided to come out then, <a href=",,1219142,00.html" target="_hplink">Bass said</a>, "The main reason I wanted to speak my mind was that (the rumors) really were starting to affect my daily life. Now it feels like it's on my terms. I'm at peace with my family, my friends, myself and God so there's really nothing else that I worry about."

  • Denise Ho, 2012

    Hong Kong's fourth annual LGBT Pride Parade in November saw beloved Cantonese pop star <a href="">Denise Ho come out as a lesbian</a>. This announcement made her the first mainstream female singer in Hong Kong to say she's gay, according to several Hong Kong media outlets. "As a celebrity, I think I have an obligation, a duty to stand forward for the sake of love and equality," the 35-year-old singer told the crowd.

  • Amber Heard, 2010

    "I personally think that if you deny something or if you hide something you're inadvertently admitting it's wrong. I don't feel like I'm wrong," said actress Amber Heard, 26, who <a href="">came out while attending GLAAD's 25th anniversary party</a>. Heard has starred in movies like as "Pineapple Express" and "Zombieland."

  • Elton John, 1976

    In <a href="" target="_hplink">an interview</a> with <em>Rolling Stone</em> in October 1976, the rock star came out by saying, "There's nothing wrong with going to bed with somebody of your own sex. I think everybody's bisexual to a certain degree. I don't think it's just me. It's not a bad thing to be. I think you're bisexual. I think everybody is."

  • Suze Orman, 2007

    Financial guru Suze Orman came out in a <a href="">2007 <em>New York Times Magazine</em> article</a>. The 61-year-old Chicago native was asked if she was married in the interview, which prompted her to officially come out and set the record straight (so to speak).

  • David Hyde Pierce, 2007

    "Frasier" actor David Hyde Pierce kept a low profile and <a href="">subtly came out</a> in an article on <em>CNN</em> where he mentioned his longtime partner, TV writer and producer Brian Hargrove. Later, while on "The View", Pierce spoke about Hargrove and his sexuality and said,"What you choose to talk about yourself is a personal decision."

  • Neil Patrick Harris, 2006

    The "Doogie Howser, MD" and "How I Met Your Mother Star" came out on the cover of <em>People</em> magazine in November of 2006. <a href=",,1554852,00.html" target="_hplink">Harris told the magazine</a>: <blockquote>"The public eye has always been kind to me, and until recently I have been able to live a pretty normal life. Now it seems there is speculation and interest in my private life and relationships. So, rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love." </blockquote>

  • Darren Hayes, 2006

    The former Savage Garden front man came out by marrying Richard Cullen in June 2006. He announced the civil union on his website <a href="" target="_hplink">saying in part</a>: "As so many of you have given me your heart and soul over the past 10 years I thought it only fitting that I too return the respect and inform you of the most significant event in my life... On June 19th 2006 I married my boyfriend of two years, Richard, in a Civil Partnership ceremony in London."

  • George Takei, 2005

    The beloved George Takei, known as Sulu on "Star Trek," <a href="">came out</a> in a 2005 article in Frontiers, a biweekly LGBT Los Angeles magazine. Takei, 75, cited the political landscape surrounding LGBT issues as one reason for coming out. Since then, Takei has been an outspoken (and humorous) advocate for LGBT rights.

  • Portia de Rossi, 2005

    The actress had been out to friends for quite some time, but she told the entire world in the fall of 2005 in interviews with <em>Details</em> magazine and <em>The Advocate</em>. "I've had my years of being not open, many years of it... It's an honor for me to do this; it's just nice to be asked," de Rossi said in her September 2005 <em>Advocate</em> <a href="" target="_hplink">cover story</a>, her first with the gay press.