Jesse Tyler Ferguson’s character on Modern Family seems pretty secure in his sexuality, but for the actor, it wasn’t always so easy. In fact, he says he essentially was forced into coming out to his dad at the tender age of 14, when he was caught by a shopkeeper with some items that didn’t belong to him.
Ferguson spoke with Aisha Tyler recently about the painful experience and opened up about what it was like to be confused about his sexuality at a young age.
“I kind of learned that i was gay from other kids. I didn’t know what that meant. when you’re that young, you don’t know who you’re attracted to. you don’t know anything. i just knew i was different and I realized by the way other kids treated me that I was gay and that for them, it was not okay,” he said in the interview.
As a teenager, he said he would steal porn and hide it in different places around the house, until one day when he was busted in a store and an employee took him aside and called his dad.
“Well, I was caught stealing gay porn when I was 14. So I always considered that my coming-out … It was so humiliating. I had been stealing porn for a while…I had to go back and the woman asked me if I had anything in my backpack. She was giving me the benefit of the doubt … she took me to the back room. They brought my dad in, and they showed him the nature of the material I was stealing, and it was really, really humiliating. So I always consider that my coming-out process.”
Despite his bad coming out experience, Ferguson married his boyfriend Justin Mikita last year in New York with the full support of his family, including his dad.