Ten years after portraying the brilliant Damien in the 2004 comedy Mean Girls, actor Daniel Franzese has officially come out as a gay man.
The 35-year-old actor announced the news in a touching letter addressed to his most famous character and which was published on Indiewire.com.
“You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor,” he wrote. “You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I’d had you as a role model when I was younger. I might’ve been easier to be gay growing up.”
According to the letter, Franzese was afraid to publicly identify himself as a gay man because he didn’t want to be pigeoned-holed as an actor. Unfortunately, his fears turned into reality because of his role in Tina Fey-penned, John Water-directed teen flick. He even said a casting director wouldn’t even let him audition for a role as a “doughy, blue-collar lug of a guy” in an indie movie, but was offered lots of roles as flamboyant stereotypes which he turned down. As such, he began to resent Damien.
“It wasn’t until years later that grown men started to coming up to me on the street – some of them in tears – and thanking me for being a role model to them,” he wrote. “Telling me I gave them comfort not only being young and gay but also being a big dude. It was then that I realized how much of an impact YOU had made on them.
“…Now in 2014 – ten years later – looking back, it took YOU to teach me how to be proud of myself again.”
You go, Glen Coco.
By the way, Franzese hates to when anyone says he’s “too gay to function.” Only Janice is allowed to say that.
Read Daniel Franzese’s full letter to Damien HERE.