Russell Tovey and his father get along fine these days, but their relationship wasn’t always so cheerful. The Years and Years actor told The Sunday Times that while he doesn't believe his parents were homophobic, they had difficulty coming to terms with his sexuality when he came out.
“My dad thought it could be cured,” Tovey recalled of his parents’ reaction when he revealed his sexuality to them at the age of 18. “He was scared about what my life would be like. To him, being gay was a road of pitfalls and unhappiness; out of love he wanted to correct this weakness, to put cotton wool around me and protect me from all that.”
Still, Tovey didn’t think his parents were hateful, but rather they lived in an insular world with little contact with LGBTQ+ people.
“I don’t think either of my parents were homophobic, they just didn’t know any gay people or anyone with gay kids," he said. "They had nothing to cling to.”
His mom agreed that it took her husband and Tovey’s dad longer to digest the news and “come to terms” with the idea of having a gay son.
“I think it was to do with pride, his idea of what makes you a man,” she said. “He thought we’d somehow made Russell gay. He said: ‘We’ll get him hormone treatment.’ He found it hard to see that Russ was happy and we had to accept it.”
It took three years and the birth of a nephew to bring father and son back together again. During that time though, the actor had been close with his mother, saying she “is still the most important person in my life” and they talk about everything including relationships. Tovey's mom was worried when the performer had a very public breakup with his rugby coach fiancé Steve Brockman, although the two later confirmed a very happy reunion.