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Wentworth Miller: I Carried “Deep Feelings of Shame” Before Coming Out

Wentworth Miller on the cover of OUT
Wentworth Miller is featured on the cover of the December 2013 issue of Out magazine, and reveals he felt like "damaged goods" after trying to kill himself before coming out as gay

Wentworth Miller is once again speaking out about the struggles he endured before coming out as gay in late August. The 41-year-old Prison Break alum covers Out magazine for its December 2013 issue, and reveals that he previously felt "deep feelings of shame" before revealing his true sexuality. 

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"I remember carrying around deep feelings of shame after I tried to kill myself, feeling like I'd stumbled or failed life's exam," the actor told the mag. (In September, Wentworth admitted during a Human Rights Campaign Dinner in Seattle that he tried committing suicide several times before coming out.) "That I was now 'damaged goods.' What I would say to that younger self — what I'd say to anyone who's walked a similar road — is to focus less on the fact that you nearly ended your life and more on the fact that you survived, that you lived to tell the tale. And then tell it." 

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He added: "I'd say, 'What you think of as scars are medals. They're badges of honor, testifying to something inside you that is determined and tenacious and enduring.'"

Wentworth came out as gay in a letter to the organizers of the St. Petersburg International Film Festival in Russia in late August. The actor cited the country's anti-LGBT legislation, which includes a ban on the adoption of Russian-born children to national and international same-sex couples, as one of the reasons he declined an invitation to an event.

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"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," he wrote in the letter, posted to GLAAD's website at the time. "However, as a gay man, I must decline." 

"I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government," he continued. "The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly." 

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"Like everyone, I'd been reading reports online about what was happening in Russia,” Miller said. "So when the invitation arrived, I thought, There is no way I can say yes. Then it occurred to me that if I made my response public, it might help draw additional attention to the situation. It felt like the right move at the right time." 

Out magazine also has three other separate collector edition covers this month, featuring director Lee Daniels (Artist of the Year), Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons (Entertainer of the Year) and Edie Windsor (Lifetime Achievement).