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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Inga Parkel

Noah Schnapp says he might ‘still be closeted’ if it wasn’t for Stranger Things

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Noah Schnapp has said he would probably “still be closeted” if it weren’t for his portrayal of Will Byers on Stranger Things.

Following the 2016 debut of the hit Netflix drama, fans began to speculate about Will’s sexuality, leading Schnapp to hit out at comments at the time, saying: “For me, Will being gay or not is besides the point.”

However, in the show’s fourth season, which aired May 2022, Will’s unrequited love for his best friend Mike (Finn Wolfhard) is heavily hinted at.

“It kind of blew up in the press, and everyone was like, ‘Oh, Will’s gay! Hooray!’” he told Variety in a recent interview conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike. “I saw all these comments on Instagram and TikTok. There was not one bad thing about him being gay. I was like, if he has all this support, then why should I worry about anything?”

At the time, viewers had also been speculating about Schnapp’s sexuality.

The young actor said that people opining about his sexuality online “made me hold it down deeper”. “Because it was kind of being poked and prodded out of me in such a public way,” he added.

“Once I did fully embrace that Will was gay, it was just an exponential speed towards accepting it for myself,” he explained.

Noah Schnapp celebrates his first pride
— (Noah Schnapp/Instagram)

“I would be in a completely different place if I didn’t have Will to portray, and to embrace and help me accept myself. I think if I never played that character, I probably would still be closeted.”

After he personally came out to his family and closest friends, Schnapp made the decision to announce it publicly in a January TikTok video.

He shared a clip of himself with the text, “When I finally told my friends and family I was gay after being scared in the closet for 18 years and all they said was ‘we know’” while lip-syncing to an audio clip of someone saying, “You know what it never was? That serious. It was never that serious. Quite frankly, will never be that serious.”

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In the caption to his TikTok video, Schnapp wrote, “I guess I’m more similar to Will than I thought.”

Recalling the tremendous response, Schnapp said: “When I opened my phone at the end of the car ride, it was, like, a thousand texts of hearts and congratulations and rainbow flags.

“I was crying. I was like, ‘I made it. I’m done. I don’t have to worry.’”

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