Ryan Phillippe: “I’m Proud” To Have Played Daytime TV’s First Gay Teenager 25 Years Ago

Ryan Phillippe made TV gay history when he played one of the first openly gay teenagers on television on the daytime soap One Life to Live nearly 25 years ago.

The Hollywood star played Billy Douglas, a high school student who comes out as gay on the soap in 1992, and was actually Phillippe’s first professional acting gig.

“There had never been a gay teenager portrayed on television at that point. It was before Will & Grace, before Ellen came out, it’s before any of that stuff,” Phillippe told Too Fab while promoting his new movie Wish Upon.

“I remember the fan mail that my mother and I would get from gay teenagers or from parents of gay teenagers who found a way in to relate to or talk to their child through this show,” he explained.

Despite only being 17 at the time, he does recall “understanding and appreciating that back then even when I was only a teenager myself.”

Phillippe told Entertainment Weekly in a 1992 interview that when he auditioned he had no clue that Billy was gay:

“They told me, and I said ‘Oh! Okay!’ but a shock went through my system. I thought, ‘What is my family going to think? What about my friends?’ But I realized that for Billy, the torment is a hundred times that.”

“I’m proud to have done it, I’m proud that that’s something I can say was a part of my career.”