Billy Porter has been living with HIV for 14 years. The 51-year-old Pose star revealed to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday (May 19th) that he kept his diagnosis a secret for more than a decade because he was ashamed and afraid that it would ruin his career.
The Broadway star even kept his status a secret from his own mother until recently. He told the outlet, “My mother had been through so much already, so much persecution by her religious community because of my queerness, that I just didn’t want her to have to live through their ‘I told you so’s.’ I didn’t want to put her through that.”
But after he and his sister got vaccinated against COVID-19, they decided to visit his mom and tell her the truth. Porter said, “I ripped the Band-Aid off and I told her. She said, ‘You’ve been carrying this around for 14 years? Don’t ever do this again. I’m your mother, I love you no matter what. And I know I didn’t understand how to do that early on, but it’s been decades now.’”