To some people, just making it 12 seasons would be the greatest gift. Jim Parsons got to experience many more gifts from the inside of The Big Bang Theory. He got to play Sheldon for 12 years, and still narrates Young Sheldon. For Parsons, the greatest gift the show gave him was private.
Parsons appeared on the HFPA In Conversation podcast on Sept. 23 to discuss his role in the Netflix film, The Boys in the Band. Reflecting on his time on The Big Bang Theory, Parsons says the show gave his family the greatest gift.
‘The Big Bang Theory’ helped Jim Parsons come out
Jim Parsons came out publicly in 2012 while discussing his role in The Normal Heart with The New York Times. He came out to his family earlier, when he met Todd Spiewak. Parsons had been out privately in his theater community and social groups, but he said the steady job of The Big Bang Theory helped him approach his family.
One of the greatest gifts that The Big Bang Theory gave me was that it was something so wonderful that we could share, my family and I, as far as success. Obviously, for a career that you’re never sure what’s going to happen with it, so the relief they must’ve felt that I had a paying job. But really the warm way in which it was received by people in both of our lives. I don’t know. That came at a really good time as far as coming out.Jim Parsons, HFPA In Conversation, 9/23/2020
When Jim Parsons met Todd Spiewak, he wanted his mom to know
Parsons and Spiewak met in 2002. When Parsons got serious with Spiewak, he wanted to be able to share that with his family.
“Then I met Todd and it became so clear to me that it was very important I share him and my feelings for him with my family,” Parsons said. “Family’s very important to me, both my family I was born into and my family I’ve accumulated over the years in friendships and things like that. To not be able to talk about my experiences with Todd with my mother [would be hard.]”
‘The Big Bang Theory’ came at just the right time
The Big Bang Theory began in 2007. Once it took off and it was clear Parsons would be working for a while, it removed at least one barrier from telling his mother about the love of his life. There were still other issues.
“Whatever she did or didn’t suspect about my own sexuality going forward, just to have to hear me say it and all the worries and fears I’m sure that brought up for her,” Parsons said. “Look, she was a 20-year-old when a play like Boys in the Band came out, and in the south. She was very steeped in the negative perceptions, the hard, horrible life it could mean to claim your homosexuality. I think that was really hard for her to officially hear that her own child was going to claim it.”
Parsons said his mother gradually grew to understand his lifestyle. It helped that he could already demonstrate the life he had built for himself even before The Big Bang Theory.
“What she didn’t know, because I hadn’t shared it with her, was that I was already living my life very successfully,” Parsons said. “I had found love. It was the whole reason I was coming to her. That was that. It wasn’t like immediate rainbows and lollipops. It was some adjusting.”