entertainment

Ryan Phillippe 'shunned' at school for playing US soap's first gay teen

The actor starred shot to fame playing Billy Douglas on 'One Life to Live' from 1992-93.

2020-11-18

Ryan Philippe has revealed he was "shunned" at school over his groundbreaking role as US daytime soap's first ever gay teenager.

The US actor, 46, shot to fame playing gay high school student Billy Douglas on One Life to Live from 1992-93, a role which was lauded for breaking new ground for LGBTQ representation on screen. 

Billy's storylines saw him dealing with homophobia from his father Walter (Jonathan Hogan) and his classmates before finding love with waiter Rick Mitchell (Joe Fiske).

Now, Phillippe has revealed he too faced difficulty at his conservative Christian school after taking on the role as a 17-year-old.

 “I had grown up going to, like, Baptist school and Christian school", he recalled on during an appearance on Barstool Sports' 'KFC Radio' podcast, Female First reports.

"When I was a senior in high school, I played the first gay character on a soap opera - first gay teenager ever - and so I was shunned at that point."

Phillippe, who would go on to play bisexual bartender Shane O'Shea in 1998's Stusio 54 drama 54, added: "I mean this was 1992, and I was playing a gay teenager and I was in a Christian school.

"They weren’t happy about it."