Grey’s Anatomy star Jake Borelli comes out after and emotional episode…
On Thursday nights episode of Grey’s Anatomy, Dr. Levi Schmitt came out as gay, and after the episode aired… so did the actor who plays him.
Actor Jake Borelli spoke publicly about his sexuality for the first time after his character shared a kiss in an elevator with Dr. Nico Kim, played by Alex Landi. It was the first kiss between two male doctors to be shown on the beloved ABC series, now in its 15th season.
Shortly after “Flowers Grow Out of My Grave” aired, Borelli announced he was gay in an Instagram post, with a photo of him wearing a rainbow bandanna.
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As a gay guy myself, tonight's episode was so special to me. This is exactly the kind of story I craved as a young gay kid growing up in Ohio, and it blows my mind that I'm able to bring life to Dr. Levi Schmitt as he begins to grapple with his own sexuality this season on Grey’s Anatomy. His vulnerability and courage inspire me every day, and I hope he can do the same for you. To all of you who feel like little Levis out there, know that I do too, that you are seen, and that we're all in this together. And to everyone who has supported me over the years, I can't thank you enough, and I love you more than all the stars…
“As a gay guy myself, tonight’s episode was so special to me,” Borelli wrote. “This is exactly the kind of story I craved as a young gay kid growing up in Ohio, and it blows my mind that I’m able to bring life to Dr. Levi Schmitt as he begins to grapple with his own sexuality this season on Grey’s Anatomy. His vulnerability and courage inspire me every day, and I hope he can do the same for you.”
According to showrunner Krista Vernoff, the kiss marks the start of the show’s first gay male romance.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Borelli spoke about working with Vernoff to handle the storyline in the most sensitive way possible.
“She pitched the story to me and said how much she wanted Levi to be the character to tell this story, the coming out in your mid-20s story. She expressed how much she wanted me to be the actor to tell it,” he said.
“I’ve known that I was gay since I was very young, 8th or 9th grade, and I came out to myself around that time. The back and forth that Levi’s feeling right now and this confusion with all these new emotions he’s feeling [is] something I had at a much younger age,” Borelli added. “He is coming to terms with his sexuality. He’s learning about his sexuality for the first time. He’s a little bit of a late bloomer.”
“I was fortunate enough to grow up in a time that had Grey’s Anatomy as a show and had shows like Glee and Will and Grace,” he said. “I had all these giant, iconic television shows telling me that it’s ok to be gay, it’s ok to be out, and growing up in that environment for the last 10 years had made it a little bit more of a welcoming environment for me to come out right now.”
The 27-year-old actor, whose credits include Parenthood and NCIS, told Entertainment Weekly he’s been open about his sexuality with friends and family for nearly a decade. As the big moment for his Grey’s character hit TV screens nationwide, he said, “I knew in that moment this is the right thing to do. This is bigger than me.”