Wilson Cruz Reveals The Sad Reason He Got Kicked Out of His House on Christmas Eve
Star Trek: Discovery actor Wilson Cruz is known for exuding confidence both on and off-screen. He’s also been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ youth and fighting the issues that affect them. As an Afro-Puerto Rican man, Cruz stands as an icon for many people who look to the media to see themselves represented.
Wilson Cruz was hesitant to come out to his parents
Even though Cruz has lived out and confident as a gay man for decades, getting there wasn’t easy. Cruz recently spoke about his personal and professional life in an episode of the At Home with The Creative Coalition podcast.
Cruz’s breakthrough role was as a young gay character on the 1994 teen sitcom My So-Called Life alongside Claire Danes and Jared Leto. But at the time, Cruz’s parents had no idea he would be playing someone gay on-screen — or that the actor was also gay in real life.
“I was out to my intimate circle of friends, to my youngest brother… in my circle, I was out to everybody, but I wasn’t out to my parents,” Cruz recalled. “I think my parents were basically the last people to find out.”
“So I hadn’t told them, then I got cast in My So-Called Life. We made the pilot of My So-Called Life, I still hadn’t told them,” he continued.
Wilson Cruz’s mom had a ‘breakdown’ after he came out to her
Cruz put off coming out to his parents until it was absolutely necessary. There was a year of time between when the pilot for My So-Called Life was filmed and when it started production after being picked up, and Cruz waited until the show got the green light to come out to his parents.
“When we finally got the pick-up, I realized that’s when I had to tell my family,” he remembered. “I made a bet with the universe, the next time one of them asks me, I will come out to them.”
“My mother asked first, and it was OK,” he continued. “She had a Catholic Latina mom breakdown and then she was fine.”
Wilson Cruz’s dad wasn’t happy with his son’s sexuality
Cruz’s father didn’t come around as easily. “My father asked me on Christmas Eve, a couple months later,” Cruz recounted. “We had all of our family there, and my father asked me why I hadn’t brought a girl. I had brought my best friend from high school, a guy. He was drunk and decided that was when he was going to ask.”
“There, in the bathroom on Christmas Eve, my father asked me and I answered honestly, and he kicked me out of the house,” Cruz admitted.
Wilson Cruz was living out of his car before filming ‘My So-Called Life’
The timing couldn’t have been worse for Cruz, as filming on My So-Called Life was set to begin just a few months later.
“We had about three months before we started working on [My So-Called Life] so I had about three months that I had to figure out what to do,” Cruz remembered. “[It was] a combination of staying with friends and staying in my car and doing what I had to do in order to survive three months, and I did.”
After Cruz began working on the show, he and his father lost touch. “My father and I didn’t speak for a year,” he said. “In that year we made 18 episodes, and one of those episodes was about my character’s own situation where he was kicked out of his house because he was gay.”
What happened next shocked Cruz. “Unbeknownst to me, my father watched that episode when it aired and, as the credits are rolling, he calls me and says, ‘I think it’s time that we talk.’”
Thanks to My So-Called Life, Cruz’s father had an epiphany and welcomed his son back into his life.
“That was the beginning of a real relationship with my father, and it all came because of a show that so many people still come to me and say, ‘That show changed my life,'” Cruz said happily. “I say, ‘Me too.’ It gave me my father. It gave me my family back.”