The hunky actor who “dated” Ellen Degeneres before she came out has said it was “an honour”.
During a recent Ask Me Anything (AMA) Q&A session on website Reddit, actor Johnathon Schaech explained his mid-90s rumored affair with the then-closeted Ellen, revealing he was recruited to be her go-to red carpet date at the time.
“My manager asked me to accompany her to events,” he said.
“She was scared people would not watch the show, her sitcom Ellen, because she was gay. It was an honour.
“If you don’t love Ellen now, you don’t watch her show. She’s a great example for the human race.”
Johnathon also explained his personal connection to Ellen’s struggles with her sexuality.
“I grew up with two gay aunts and a gay uncle. My aunt died of cancer. She was a proud woman and she didn’t get proper care because he didn’t want to be away from her partner,” he said.
“Hospitals didn’t allow partners the same rights as a spouse. When you have someone you love in your life that is gay or a lesbian it’s very clear that they deserve the same rights as anyone else.”
Two years after Johnathon and Ellen were seen holding hands at 1995 Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, Ellen publicly came out as gay in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Johnathon also said he missed out on making a cameo in Ellen’s two-part coming out episode of her hit TV sitcom Ellen in 1997.
“I was supposed to perform in her coming out episode but I ran a marathon and couldn’t walk the next day. The network fired me cause they thought I was lame. I was lame, don’t run a marathon when you are given a great gift.”