Ryan Phillippe’s Parents “Shunned” Him Over Roles As Gay Teen On ‘One Life To Live’ & Scandalous ‘Cruel Intentions’
“I thought my parents were going to disown me”…
Ryan Phillippe’s parents were not pleased with his role choices early in his acting career.
Richard and Susan Phillippe “shunned” the actor for his groundbreaking role as One Life to Live‘s Billy Douglas, the first gay character on a soap opera, which he portrayed during the early ’90s. Phillippe made his daytime debut at age 18 as One Life To Live‘s Billy Douglas back in April 1992 and made history when the 16-year-old character came out as gay.
“I’d grown up going to Baptist school, Christian school, and stuff,” Phillippe told KFC Radio. “My first role ever, though, coming out of the Christian school when I was a senior in high school, I played the first gay character on a soap opera, the first gay teenager ever. So I was shunned at that point, so they were already out of the picture.”
“This was 1992, and I was playing a gay teenager and I was in a Christian school,” he added. “They weren’t happy about it.”‘
His religious parents were also unpleased with his follow-up role: scandalous Sebastian Valmont in the 1999 cult classic Cruel Intentions, which was loosely based on the 1988 film Dangerous Liaisons. Cruel Intentions memorably featured a kiss between Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair, an incest plot line (Phillippe tries to seduce his stepsister, portrayed by Gellar) and Joshua Jackson portraying a gay role. The film also featured a nude pool scene with Phillippe that many gay men have credited as a sexual awakening.
“I thought my parents were going to disown me,” said Phillippe.
Over two decades after Cruel Intentions was released, Phillippe said he would love to return to a role like Sebastian.
“I’ve still never played a character like that since,” he said. “I’m dabbling in comedies here and there, I’m doing a lot of comedy stuff. … But I want to get back to playing a character like Sebastian in Cruel Intentions. It was just so fun to be so flippant and theatrical.”
You can watch the interview with Phillippe below.
– FLASHBACK: One Life To Live’s Billy Douglas Comes Out (June 26, 1992)