Karan Brar has opened up about his sexuality and mental health journey in a powerful essay.
Since getting his start in the 2010 coming-of-age film Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the 24-year-old talent has steadily made a name for himself in the acting sphere – with major roles in Disney Channel’s Bunk’d and Jessie.
While his career in front of the camera has been full of success, life behind closed doors wasn’t as easy for the young actor – specifically in regards to his sexuality.
In a heartfelt essay written for Teen Vogue, Brar reflected on having two different sides of himself, “public Karan and private Karan,” which slowly took a toll on his mental health.
“I kept pushing myself until cracks started to form,” he explained.
He went on to say that after having a particularly rough night out, he couldn’t continue “compartmentalising” his true identity, resulting in him coming out to his roommates and fellow Disney peers Cameron Boyce and Sophie Reynolds.
“The moment the words left my mouth, I regretted it. I could barely see straight, but I ended up trying to do some damage control anyway,” he recalled.
“The best thing I could think of came stumbling out of my mouth: “If you guys want me to move out I can. Just give me two weeks to figure it ou–
“They interrupted me by hugging me from behind. Again, I told them I should move out. They told me I was being stupid. I told them I’d cover for them if people asked why we didn’t live together anymore… they said my bisexuality changed nothing for them.”
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Brar added that while they weren’t shocked over his sexuality, they were shocked over how he thought they would react.
“I think I just convinced myself that this part of me would feel less like an invitation to know me better and more like a burden they had to endure,” he continued.
“This was the first time in years that I wasn’t hiding anything from them; instead, they were seeing the most authentic version of me. I finally gave up and accepted that they loved me as I am, as I’ve been, and as I’m going to be. This was the crisp picture of what unconditional love looked like.”
Elsewhere in his essay, Brar opened up about Boyce’s tragic death in 2019, and how his passing, the pandemic and his internalised homophobia further impacted his mental well-being.
Fortunately, the Hubie Halloween star was able to receive help at an inpatient treatment center, where he was later diagnosed with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder.
Towards the end of his empowering essay, Brar revealed that he’s doing so much better since seeking help three years prior.
“I’m finding my emotions to be much more manageable… Everyone around me can also see these changes, and I can feel their shoulders dropping in relief as we go further into our twenties,” he added.
You can read his full Teen Vogue essay here.