Richard Armitage has opened up about his sexuality for the first time.
In an interview with Radio Times, the actor – who currently stars in Netflix’s romantic thriller series Obsession – revealed that he came out as LGBTQ+ at age 19 to “anybody who mattered”.
“I was always waiting for that question to punch me in the face, and it never did. I thought, ‘Are people being polite, or is it that they don’t want to know?’” said Armitage, before explaining that he didn’t want discussions or rumours over his sexuality to overshadow his career.
“I don’t know that I ever wanted to put myself in front of the work I was doing, anything about my family or personal life. I just thought, ‘Let the work speak for itself.’ If I declare who I am and my sexuality, then I’m saying it’s fixed and I don’t know that, or if I might feel something for somebody further down the line.
“I doubt it, but I don’t know. It’s more relaxed now. As a writer and producer, I do wonder if anybody has to be defined by who they’re in love with.”
Armitage praised the younger generation and their progressive approach to LGBTQ+ issues: “I love the idea that whatever gender, sexuality, the fluidity of who you love, how you identify, is not fixed.
“That was always a thing: If I declare who I am and my sexuality, then I’m saying it’s fixed and I don’t know that, or if I might feel something for somebody further down the line. I doubt it, but I don’t know. It’s more relaxed now. As a writer and producer, I do wonder if anybody has to be defined by who they’re in love with.”
During a separate conversation with the Evening Standard, Armitage recalled a conversion about the various nude and sex scenes in Obsession with his male partner.
“I reassured him that it was all going to be fine, and we were being well looked after,” said Armitage, adding that he and Charlie Murphy, his co-lead in the series, “met each other’s partners” and have “gone for dinner”.
Based on Josephine Hart’s 1991 novel Damage, Obsession follows Armitage’s character William, a surgeon who becomes infatuated with his son’s fianceé Anna (Murphy). The four-part miniseries also stars Indira Varma, Rish Shah, Pippa Bennett-Warner and Sonera Angel.
Armitage is best known for playing dwarf king Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit trilogy (2011-2014). Other notable roles include Robin Hood (2006-2009), The Vicar of Dibley (2006-2007), Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016), Ocean’s 8 (2018) and The Stranger (2020).