Colton Haynes has revealed the drama surrounding his sexuality earlier this year (16) triggered his clinical anxiety and led him to rehab.
The Arrow star hit headlines in January (16) when a fan commented on his "secret gay past" on Tumblr.com, and Colton seemingly 'came out' by responding, "Was it a secret? Let's all just enjoy life & have no regrets."
The 27-year-old, who has been 'out' to his family and friends since he was a teen, has never publicly come forward with an official announcement regarding his sexuality, and because of that, critics took aim at Colton for not being candid with his homosexuality.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, he admits he was astonished by all the attention, which ultimately led to him checking into a facility to treat his anxiety and make frequent visits to hospital over the next few months.
"It was a complete shock," he confessed. "I wasn’t ready to be back in the headlines. 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."
He continued, "People want you to be that GQ (magazine) 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. 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."
Ironically, just one month before his fan interaction on Tumblr, Colton had opened up about his battle with anxiety for the first time - the disorder made him walk away from two popular TV series, Teen Wolf and Arrow, in order to focus on his health.
"I asked to step away because I cared more about my mental and physical health than my career at the time," he reveals. "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."
And the brief hiatus from the spotlight has clearly helped, as Colton is bouncing back and feels better than ever.
"It took me so long to get to this point, but I’m doing so good," he says. "I'm happier than I've ever been, and healthier than I've ever been, and that's what I care about."