Former Arrow and Teen Wolf actor Colton Haynes has spoken about why he departed two successful series, detailing a struggle with anxiety, the pressures of fame and social media discussion about his sexuality.
“I asked to step away because I cared more about my mental and physical health than my career at the time,” he said of Arrow. “I’ve had terminal anxiety my entire life. Physically ill, fainting. I’m 27 years old, and I have an ulcer. I had to step back,” he said.
Haynes has been out to his friends, family and colleagues for many years but kept his personal life from fans.
In January a Tumblr post commented on Haynes’ “secret gay past,” to which Haynes replied: “Was it a secret?” That drew wider attention.
“It was a complete shock. I wasn’t ready to be back in the headlines,” says Haynes.
“I should have made a comment or a statement, but I just wasn’t ready. I didn’t feel like I owed anyone anything. I think in due time, everyone has to make those decisions when they’re ready, and I wasn’t yet. But I felt like I was letting people down by not coming forward with the rest of what I should have said.”
At the time Haynes had also checked into rehab for anxiety and would be frequently back in the hospital over the next three months.
“People want you to be that GQ image that you put out, but people don’t realise what it’s like to act 24 hours a day. I’d go home and I was still acting,” he told EW.com. “People who are so judgmental about those who are gay or different don’t realise that acting 24 hours a day is the most exhausting thing in the world.”
A happier Haynes now says he is up for future projects, including more Arrow if showrunner Greg Berlanti is interested.
“It took me so long to get to this point, but I’m doing so good,” says Haynes. “I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and healthier than I’ve ever been, and that’s what I care about.”