Actor Paul Bettany revealed his gay father, Thane, felt forced to go back into the closet after his male lover of 20-years passed away.
The star, 49, told Total Film magazine that when his dad revealed he was homosexual, his family were delighted that he had found someone he loved.
Paul told the publication: ‘I had a gay father who died a couple of years ago. He came out of the closet at 63. He then had a 20-year relationship with a man called Andy.
‘My gay father went back in the closet’: Paul Bettany revealed his dad had a 20-year romance with a man but the Catholic called his sexuality a ‘misunderstanding’ after his lover died
Paul said: ‘The shame he felt for his sexual identity was devastating, He was unable to mourn the person who I think was the love of his life’ (pictured, his father Thane in 2003)
‘It was a joyous relief for everybody, actually. And once his partner died, [in the 80s] he [my dad] was in his 80s at that point, my dad decided to go back inside the closet and say that it had all been a big misunderstanding because he was a Catholic and concerned about getting past Peter through the pearly gates.
‘The shame he felt for his sexual identity was devastating, He was unable to mourn the person who I think was the love of his life.’
Thane, an actor and a dancer was with his lover Andy for two decades following his divorce from Paul’s mother, Avengers star, Anne.
Hurt: Paul admitted his sadness over this nearly made him turn down the role in his upcoming movie, Uncle Frank, (pictured) which tells the tale of a gay man who confronts his past
His love: Paul Bettany with his wife Jennifer Connelly, who he married in January 2003 – pictured at the Louis Vuitton show in March 05, 2019 in Paris, France
Paul admitted his sadness over this nearly made him turn down the role in his upcoming movie, Uncle Frank.
He said that while he thought it was ‘beautifully done’, he ‘didn’t really want to go there’ and was ‘scared of it.’
Set in the 1970s, Uncle Frank is a movie about a gay man who confronts his past. The family drama is set mainly in smalltown South Carolina.
Bettany plays the title character, Frank Bledsoe, a literature professor teaching at New York University in the Seventies, safely removed from the judgmental eye of his belligerent father, Daddy Mac (Stephen Root).
Frank is gay and his decade-long partner is Walid (Peter Macdissi), a Saudi Arabian immigrant who escaped state-sanctioned homophobia in his own country.
But beyond the bigoted Daddy Mac, few members of Frank’s family know his ‘secret’, least of all his bright but unworldly teenage niece Betty (Sophia Lillis), who acts as a narrator and tells us that her Uncle Frank, her father’s brother, is the only grown-up she knows who looks her in the eye.
Uncle Frank streams on Amazon Prime Video from next Wednesday.
Paul Bettany had a tough upbringing and in 2015, he reflected on his spiral of drug and alcohol abuse following the tragic death of his younger brother.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron star’s younger sibling Matthew died aged eight after fracturing his skull in a freak accident when Paul was 16 and he has confessed he turned to alcohol and cocaine decades later to help him come to terms with his passing.
After leaving home and working as a street busker in the years after his brother’s death, the 44-year-old actor finally landed his breakthrough movie role in A Knight’s Tale in 2001, but became heavily dependent on the substances.
He recalled: ‘(It was) manic. I don’t know if I was aware I was numbing myself at the time. I don’t think (there was anger). It was nobody’s fault.
‘It was the awfulness that is bad luck. Had there not been a heavy dew that morning.’
Paul – who has two children Stellan, 16, and Agnes, eight, with his wife Jennifer Connelly – added the accident still impacts on his daily life and has caused him to feel increasingly anxious following the birth of his children.
In an interview with The Times newspaper, he said: ‘I think (the accident) is the very centre of my feeling that life is precarious, but I think I’m becoming better at it.
‘As more years pass without another catastrophe, I realise that the worst-case scenario often doesn’t happen.
‘I am definitely feeling calmer on that but don’t think it will ever entirely leave. It’s an indelible worry.’
More to come: Sophia Lillis stars alongside Paul Bettany in the upcoming movie