Jonathan Van Ness, one of the stars of Queer Eye, revealed that he is a survivor of sexual abuse, has a history of heavy drug use, and is HIV-positive in an interview with the New York Times. The interview discussed his upcoming memoir, Over the Top, which details his journey from growing up in Illinois to working as a hairdresser in Los Angeles and getting cast on Netflix’s reboot of Queer Eye.
In the interview, Van Ness reveals he was abused as a child by an older boy and was a victim of homophobic bullying at his school. In his early twenties, he became addicted to methamphetamine and went to rehab twice. He now drinks and smokes marijuana but is sober from any hard drugs.
At 25, he went to Planned Parenthood after fainting from flu-like symptoms while working at a hair salon. A test there revealed he was HIV-positive. In his book, he writes, “that day was just as devastating as you’d think it would be.”
In his interview with the New York Times, he said that he is healthy and now a proud “member of the beautiful HIV-positive community.”
The Netflix reboot of the ‘00s show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy made Van Ness a star and a fan favorite for his charisma and compassionate treatment of the show’s guests. In a recent interview with Out, he came out as gender-nonconforming and nonbinary.
On his Instagram, Van Ness wrote, "I’m relieved I can speak fully about the things that shape my experience in life."
There was an outpouring of support for Van Ness following the New York Times article.
The year the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy series debuted was misstated in an earlier version of this post.