Revealing that portraying Will helped him “accept” himself, Noah — who captioned his coming-out video with “I guess I’m more similar to Will than I thought” — admitted that he’d probably “still be closeted” if it weren’t for his Stranger Things character.
“Once I did fully embrace that Will was gay, it was just an exponential speed toward accepting it for myself,” he said. “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.”
Reflecting back a little further, Noah — who was 11 when Stranger Things first aired — recalled reading tons of comments speculating that he was gay before he’d even given the idea any thought.
“I think it made me hold it down deeper,” he said. “Because it was kind of being poked and prodded out of me in such a public way.”
“It was just, I didn’t think it was a real thing,” he went on. “It was just the idea of being gay. I was like, ‘I’m straight.’ I just rejected that idea for so long.”
When he finally came to terms with his sexuality, Noah recalled feeling uncomfortable when he went off to college and had a bunch of “new girls” hitting on him.
“All these new girls were starting to hit on me, and I was like, ‘I don’t like this. I don’t want this,’” he says. “I was like, ‘Holy shit. I know now.’”
Going on to recall how he came out to each of his nearest and dearest, Noah shared that his twin sister, Chloe, was first on his list of people to tell.
“I can’t tell anyone else before I tell my own twin sister — she’ll kill me,” he recalled thinking. “I was driving, and I just kept putting it off. Our house was right down the road, and she was like, ‘Why do you keep making these wrong turns?’ I was like, ‘I can’t do it, I can’t do it.’ Then we got home, and I was like, ‘Screw it.’”
In response, Noah revealed that Chloe was thrilled because she would’ve “hated” the idea of him “marrying another girl.”
“She was ecstatic,” Noah said. “She said that she would’ve hated the idea of me marrying another girl and having to compete with that girl for my attention. The fact that now it’ll be a guy, she was like, ‘Oh, he’ll be my best friend.’”
After telling Chloe, Noah retreated for a while, causing his mom to get worried. He recalled, “I couldn’t tell her how I was feeling without telling her what the problem was, so just one night at dinner, I was like, ‘This is it.’ She was like, ‘Finally, you told me!’”
“She said that she would talk to her friend when I was 12 and be like, ‘I know my son is gay. Do I have to ask him? How do I do it?’ The friend was like, ‘Oh, you just let him be and let him figure it out himself,’” he went on.
And after telling his mom and sister, Noah went on to tell his dad and close friends — including his best friend and Stranger Thingscostar Millie Bobby Brown, who — like his mom — wasn’t surprised by his revelation.
“I just FaceTimed her one day in the middle of a Party City, and I was like, ‘Millie, I’m gay.’ And she was like, ‘Oh, Schnapper! You told me finally!’” Noah recalled.
However, Noah was still hesitant to “tell the world,” and wound up searching openly gay actors with his mom to “make sure” he’d be alright if he came out.
He shared, “I remember being in the car with my mom and looking up out actors, because we wanted to make sure that I’ll be OK if I’m out, and they were all successful, super happy people.”
“In the end, I decided that if I was only out to my close circle, I would still feel like I’m hiding something. The only way to truly feel myself is to tell everyone,” he added.