TIME celebrities

Luke Evans Has Been Out for Years, But He’s Finally Stopped Hiding

Luke Evans
Luke Evans (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP) Andy Kropa—Andy Kropa /Invision/AP

The Dracula Untold star, who came out years ago, proves that coming out can be a long, rewarding process

This year, National Coming Out Day happens to coincide with the release of Dracula Untold, an accident of timing that’s actually fortuitous. The would-be action franchise kickoff features in the title role Luke Evans, an actor who has (until recently) been less than forthcoming about his sexuality. But Evans, at the very moment he stands at the precipice of major stardom with roles in the Dracula, Fast & Furious, and Hobbit franchises, would seem to be living more openly than ever. He’s proof positive that the work of coming out only begins with a declaration of one’s sexuality, that being open about identity is both rewarding and deeply challenging

Evans, an aspiring star in an industry not historically hospitable to gay people, has long been living in the aftermath of interviews, conducted very early in his career, in which he described himself as a gay man, most notably this interview with gay publication The Advocate. In that 2002 interview, Evans said he refused to remain in the closet: “[E]verybody knew me as a gay man, and in my life in London I never tried to hide it.” He had no need to, as a stage actor in London’s West End.

Hiding his sexuality came later, once a Hollywood movie career began. Evans, through publicists, refused to comment on his past statements and tended to avoid pronouns in interviews about his significant others, hoping to adopt three dogs and “share them with someone else” in a 2010 interview with Cosmopolitan. Slowly but surely, Evans has risen in Hollywood at the cost of the openness he so clearly prized when first starting out.

But this week, Evans finally responded to a question about his sexuality. He responded to a Women’s Wear Daily interviewer asking him if he was setting a new precedent as an openly gay action star: “It’s good for people to look at me and think this guy is doing his thing and enjoying what he’s doing and successful at it and living his life. And that’s what I’m doing and I’m very happy.” The WWD piece makes a note of the fact that Evans’ publicists attempted to keep his sexuality (which they don’t deny) from coming up in the interview, a condition both reporter and subject ignored. And while it may not have been a full-throated declaration of gay pride, Evans’ tacit acknowledgment of his unique status — in a way, he’s been out for years — signals that things may, slowly, be changing for Evans and for gay public figures.

It’s easy to condemn Evans as less-than-perfect in the way he’s bypassed questions about his sexuality since first breaking out in movies. But Evans is part of an industry where, counterexamples like Neil Patrick Harris aside, queerness is a major strike against a star. It’d be a better world if Luke Evans felt empowered to speak openly about his sexuality, just as it would be if former child star Raven-Symoné didn’t make a show of rejecting labels like “lesbian” in acknowledging that she dates women.

But Evans’s refusal, now, to deny or dissemble signals a step forward of sorts. He may not be the gay action hero we want, but he’s the one we have, and one we can only hope grows still more comfortable. In Evans, gay people who’ve spent years trying to grow comfortable in the world can see themselves. He’s undergoing a process that’s often circuitous and halting. In struggling with how to define himself and ending up, for now, in a place of acceptance and the beginnings of openness, the musclebound vampire has never seemed more like an everyman.

TIME celebrities

Gwyneth Paltrow to President Obama: “You’re So Handsome I Can’t Speak Properly”

Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP) Dan Steinberg—Dan Steinberg/Invision/AP

The Goop icon meets the President at a Los Angeles fundraiser

For perhaps the first time, Gwyneth Paltrow was at a loss for words.

The actress and cookbook author hosted a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at her Los Angeles home, and told guest of honor President Obama: “You’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly.”

Paltrow was reportedly composed enough in the presence of the President to remind him that she had been a longtime supporter, telling him she was “one of your biggest fans, if not the biggest.” The actress also told the assembled crowd, including Julia Roberts and The West Wing star Bradley Whitford, that equal pay was an issue “very important to me as a working mother.”

This sort of rhetoric has, historically, bothered those who find everything about Paltrow bothersome; she’s not exactly a typical working mother, as indicated by her weekly Goop newsletters advising readers on complicated recipes and luxury fashions.

But what Paltrow may lack in self-awareness she makes up for in passion. Even before last night’s fundraiser, the actress had been involved in politics, taping an ad encouraging expatriate Americans to vote for Obama via absentee ballot in the 2008 election. She lived in London at the time with her husband Chris Martin, from whom she has since consciously uncoupled.

For his part, Obama was reported to have enjoyed Paltrow’s hospitality. Following her compliment on his appearance, the President said “I’m taking her to the next event.”

TIME celebrities

Watch Jennifer Garner Explain How She’ll Talk to Her Kids About Sex

Jennifer Garner, who stars in a new movie about the perils of the Internet called Men, Women & Children, has nothing particularly against porn. She just doesn’t want her three kids to see it online before she’s had a chance to talk to them about sex. “I really hope my kids don’t run across stuff online that could appear violent to them,” she said in a recent interview with TIME.

Garner — who admitted to taking a pretty disciplined approach to bringing up Violet, 9, Seraphina, 5 and Sam, 2 — said she’s done a lot of thinking about how to teach her kids, especially her daughters, about sex. Even after attending talks, reading books and talking to experts, she’s still not quite sure about the right approach. Her own mother and father, whom she called “the best parents in the world,” have still never talked to her about it. “I’m waiting for The Talk, mom, dad,” she joked in the interview, which TIME subscribers can read here.

TIME celebrities

The Amanda Bynes Story Isn’t a Story At All

Amanda Bynes

The actress-turned-tabloid-sensation is back in the news. Why can't we look away?

Former child star Amanda Bynes is back in the news, in a return to the genre for which she’s become best known — the celebrity scandal.

For the uninitiated, Bynes was a standout on the 1990s Nickelodeon teen sketch-comedy show All That; she got her own spin-off vehicle, The Amanda Show, before transitioning to more mature roles on television and film. She was last seen onscreen in a supporting role in the Emma Stone comedy Easy A in 2010, but has spent the intervening time making news.

Following a series of arrests around reckless driving and DUI in 2012, Bynes became a public spectacle for her provocative pronouncements directed at other celebrities on Twitter and for ongoing legal troubles; last year, she was arrested for marijuana possession and for starting a fire in a stranger’s driveway, with the latter arrest getting her placed under a 5150 psychiatric hold. Through it all, Bynes provoked commentary and mockery for her outré appearance as much as for her misdeeds, sporting poorly-maintained wigs and new cheek piercings.

Then the story, for a time, died down. Following court-ordered treatment, Bynes had, until recently, been living with her parents and studying fashion; she stopped tweeting, and the culture largely moved on with little reference to Bynes’s turbulent past year.

Last month, Bynes was arrested for DUI in California once again, and she’s since left her parents’ home and arrived in New York. The volume and tone of coverage of Bynes’s week in New York has made Bynes’s time out of the spotlight seem, in retrospect, like a painful waiting game finally ended. Bynes has returned to her verified Twitter account, where she’s gone on a defensive, angry jag directed at the media; she’s recently been alleged to have done everything from shoplifting a hat to talking to herself in public.

It’s often said that celebrities ought to expect intrusive reporting on their lives and frank-to-the-point-of-cruelty criticism; this is the “deal” they made when pursuing a public life. But Bynes has been doubly restricted from signing this imaginary contract in good faith. She’s both a former child star, having entered the entertainment industry years before she could have known the consequences, and, as the courts have ruled and every piece of reporting has indicated, not of sound mind. Her legal travails have consistently made news, which is understandable. But the Bynes narrative isn’t evolving. With the recursive, zigzagging logiclessness of a nightmare, it’s barely a narrative at all.

What new information about Bynes are we going to learn at this point? Unlike the similar case of Britney Spears, who was a subject of tabloid fascination as she rampaged through Los Angeles post-divorce, there’s not even symbolic insight to be gained here. Spears was, at a time, the biggest pop star on Earth, and her struggles were both the subject of obvious fascination, given her exalted status, and educational about her specific sort of mega-fame. So, too, have Lindsay Lohan’s challenges with sobriety been informed by the degree to which she was, for a short period, the most in-demand actress in the game.

By contrast, as an entertainer, Bynes hasn’t worked in years and shows no signs of returning to acting. And even when she was a performer, her reach was limited: Nobody outside the millennial generation can be reasonably expected to have seen any of her output. Instead, Bynes is an individual whose news value is solely her evident struggles, a story that never develops or changes but gets new content every day. As a legally troubled woman who appears not to be in full control of her actions, Bynes is wildly more well-known than she was when she was just a winning young comedienne. Maybe the story is a not-particularly-shocking one: How badly a Hollywood scandal vacuum needed filling.

TIME celebrities

Paula Patton Files for Divorce From ‘Blurred Lines’ Singer Robin Thicke

Robin Thicke, Paula Patton
In this Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 file photo, Robin Thicke and Paula Patton attend the sixth annual GQ Gentlemen's Ball in New York. Charles Sykes—Invision/AP

The star's estranged wife is seeking a little clarity

It’s official: Paula Patton has filed for divorce from Robin Thicke.

Patton, who has been separated from Thicke since February, cited “irreconcilable differences” in papers filed in Los Angeles on Oct. 3, People reports. She is also seeking joint custody of the couple’s 4-year-old son Julian Fuego.

The couple have been married since 2005 and met when Thicke was just 14 years old.

Thicke, who raised eyebrows during a gyrating performance with Miley Cyrus at last summer’s MTV Music Videos, has never been far from rumors of philandering.

In an April deposition for a copyright dispute over the song “Blurred Lines,” Thicke told a prosecutor that he does not consider himself “an honest person.”

“No. That’s why I’m separated,” he said. “I told my wife the truth. That’s why she left me.”

He also said in that deposition that he spent the last year wrestling with drug and alcohol problems severe enough that he “didn’t do a sober interview” during promotional work.

“Every day I woke up, I would take a Vicodin to start the day and then I would fill up a water bottle with vodka and drink it before and during my interviews,” he said in the file.

Thicke has made numerous public attempts to woo back his estranged wife. In a March performance in Washington, D.C., he answered fans’ bellows about Patton with a promise that “I want everybody here to know that I’m trying to get my girl back,” People says. He went on to sing “Lost Without U,” a 2007 song about his wife.

In June, he also named his seventh album Paula.


TIME celebrities

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Sharp, Smart Response to Martha Stewart’s Shade

When asked what she thought of Stewart's insult, the actress got it right

Gwyneth Paltrow — Iron Man actress, Goop entrepreneur, and all-around super-mom — has a lot to teach her fans: how to consciously uncouple (and what that even means), how to prepare elegant yet nutritious meals, and now, how to respond to an insult in a way that only makes you look better.

At Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Summit Tuesday, Real Simple editor Kristin van Ogtrop asked Paltrow what she thought of Martha Stewart’s recent comments about Goop (Both Fortune and Real Simple share a parent company with TIME.) Stewart had said, “She just needs to be quiet. She’s a movie star. If she were confident in her acting, she wouldn’t be trying to be Martha Stewart.” It was a fairly harsh criticism that seemed to crystallize public perception of Paltrow: that she’s somehow out-of-touch and imbued with a Hollywood vanity that invalidates her advice.

Contrary to Stewart, though, Paltrow seemed incredibly confident in her ability to deliver lines now, telling van Ogtrop sarcastically: “No one has ever said anything bad about me before, so I’m shocked and devastated. I’ll try to recover. If I’m really honest, I’m so psyched that she sees us as competition. I really am.”

It was the perfect rebuttal, complete with a strong dose of self-deprecating humor, for which Paltrow isn’t generally known. And Paltrow managed to turn Stewart’s remarks back around on her, turning a vicious shade attack into the sort of healthy competition that makes one try harder. Paltrow’s haters may not appreciate her perceived attitude of superiority, but this time, she did it better — with more perspective, wit, and tactical intelligence — than anyone could have expected.

TIME celebrities

7th Heaven Actress Sarah Goldberg Dies in Her Sleep at 40

A heart ailment is suspected in her death

Sarah Goldberg, who appeared in the television series 7th Heaven, died on Sept. 27 of natural causes, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. She was 40.

“She went to sleep and didn’t wake up,” her mother told the Sun-Times.

The Chicago-born Goldberg played 7th Heaven’s Sarah Glass Camden from 2002 to 2006. Her character was a rabbi’s daughter whose interreligious marriage to character Matt Camden, the son of the Rev. Eric Camden (Stephen Collins), was a favorite plot line among fans.

The Sun-Times says a heart ailment is suspected in Goldberg’s death.

Goldberg also had roles in the TV shows House and Judging Amy, as well as in the movie Jurassic Park III.

[Chicago Sun-Times]

TIME Music

Former Smiths Singer Morrissey Reveals His Battle With Cancer

Singer Morrissey performs on stage during the 20th annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert at the Oslo Spektrum on Dec. 11, 2013 in Oslo.
Singer Morrissey performs on stage during the 20th annual Nobel Peace Prize Concert at the Oslo Spektrum on Dec. 11, 2013 in Oslo. Chris Jackson—Getty Images

"If I die, I die. If I don't, then I don't"

British rocker Morrissey revealed Tuesday that he has undergone four cancer treatments, an announcement that followed several recent tour cancellations due to his poor health.

In what almost sounded like song lyrics, the former Smiths singer told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo in an e-mail interview that “I have had four cancer-scrapings, but so what. If I die, I die. If I don’t, then I don’t. As I sit here today, I feel very well.”

Morrissey, who kicked off his latest European tour in Portugal Monday, added that while he has been affected by his illness, he promises to work hard nonetheless.

“I know I look quite bad on recent photographs,” Morrissey wrote to El Mundo, “but I am afraid this is what illness does to the overall countenance. I will save relaxation for when I’m dead.”

Morrissey has not identified the form of his cancer, but his poor health has been widely known after he cancelled several U.S. concerts last year and was hospitalized for a respiratory infection in June, according to BBC. He has previously struggled with pneumonia, anemia and a throat condition called Barrett’s esophagus.

TIME celebrities

Amanda Bynes Reveals Plans to Move to New York to Study Psychology

Actress Amanda Bynes is seen in New York City on Oct. 6, 2014.
Actress Amanda Bynes is seen in New York City on Oct. 6, 2014. Raymond Hall—GC Images/Getty Images

The former child star has been focused on regaining her health after being released from psychiatric hold

Troubled former child star Amanda Bynes returned to Twitter Tuesday after an almost six month hiatus to announce future study plans in New York.

Bynes will transfer to NYU or Columbia from San Diego’s Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise (FIDM), she said.

The sometime-actress has most often been the subject of tabloids in recent years, while the public tried to decipher her cryptic tweets or understand her unpredictable IRL behavior. The actress was released from a treatment center in December last year after four months of an involuntary psychiatric hold, after which she enrolled at FIDM.

After outlining her plans, Bynes also seemed to address her critics:

Presumably these are in response to media outlets like TMZ, which reported last week that Bynes was expelled from FIDM, a situation that would likely complicate Bynes’ plans to transfer to NYU or Columbia.

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