Media outlets were quick to interpret the tweet as his coming out moment. In a new interview, McHale — who starred in “Glee” and “When We Rise” — said the remark did reflect his identity as a gay man but that his friends, family members and many fans already knew.
“If somebody was a big fan and following everything I was doing [on social media], like the people I interact with on Twitter on a daily basis, I think there was zero surprise,” he told entertainment journalist Marc Malkin in a Facebook Live chat Thursday. “People knew. The organizations I’ve been supporting and all that sort of work has been apparent, at least to me.”
McHale said he kept quiet about his sexuality in the media during his years on “Glee” because he was in a relationship at the time.
“The person I was with came from the most accepting family,” McHale said. “But one of the family members, he was terrified of them finding out. So I was trying to be respectful of that.”
These days, he’s in a relationship with his “When We Rise” co-star Austin McKenzie. The two have been dating for a little over a year and haven’t been shy about sharing cozy photos with each other on their Instagram accounts.
Interestingly, McHale said he now worries that his “No Tears Left to Cry” tweet ― which received over 12,000 likes as of Friday afternoon ― was “disrespectful,” given that its lyrics seem to address the terrorist attack at Grande’s Manchester, England, concert in May 2017.
Still, he added, “better out than not. I’m like, great — that takes care of that.”
He also confirmed reports that he’s back in the recording studio, working on tunes of his own.
“It’s a long process,” he said, “but I do think music will be out soon.”
Watch Kevin McHale’s full interview with Marc Malkin below.