Wayne Brady comes out as pansexual: ‘I had to start learning about myself’
The Let’s Make a Deal host opened up about his journey to self-understanding.
“I am pansexual,” the Let’s Make a Deal host told PEOPLE — or, alternatively, “Bisexual — with an open mind!”
The actor and comedian detailed his journey to fully understanding himself, explaining how he settled on the terminology that felt the most right: “I came to pansexual because… to me, pan means being able to be attracted to anyone who identifies as gay, straight, bi, transsexual or non-binary. Being able to be attracted across the board,” he said. “I took pan to mean that not only can I be attracted to any of these people or types physically, but I could be attracted to the person that is there.”
Brady clarified that he’s not dating anyone at the moment, saying “I am single, but it’s not about being with someone right now. I’ve got some work to do still. Then, Wayne as a single, open-minded pansexual can make a decision and be free and open to other people.”
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The first person to whom Brady came out was his ex-wife, Mandie Taketa, who told PEOPLE, “I just said, ‘Great.’ As I knew coming out would help him be happier.” Their 20-year-old daughter Maile was similarly accepting.
The actor explained that Robin Williams’ death in 2014 led him to consider his own mental health more seriously, which put him on a journey of self discovery: “I had to start learning about myself, and I had to start owning up to things that maybe I’d either repressed, suppressed, or just didn’t wanna deal with,” he told PEOPLE. “I’ve also been attracted to certain men in my life, but I’ve always pushed that aside because of how I was raised, and because I live in today’s world, and it’s scary as s—. What’s the fastest way to hurt another man? I’m gonna call you out of your name. I’m gonna call you gay. I’m gonna emasculate you. I’m gonna use the F-word.”
Brady, who played the gay brother of Neil Patrick Harris’ Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother and the drag queen Lola in Kinky Boots, said that he felt an affinity for the LGBTQ+ community, but often felt like an imposter when considering his place within it. “I’ve always had that community, but I’ve always felt like a sham because I wasn’t being forthcoming with myself,” he said. “You can play at being an ally, but until the day that you can truly say, ‘This is who I am, and I wanna stand next to you,’ that’s not… I always wanted that day to come.”
The actor also detailed how he underwent treatment for love addiction, leading him to reevaluate his relationships and the way he understands himself. “I had to start examining why I was looking for myself and happiness in a slew of people. If I marry this person, then everything will be fine. If I date this person, everything will be fine,” he said. “That is obviously a problem. And so, in doing that work, I now know absolutely that love addiction is borne of trauma. I can’t feel any shame around that, just like I wouldn’t shame somebody if they said they were addicted to meth or cocaine. That’s a sickness.”
Ultimately, Brady’s priority is being as healthy and honest as he can. “If I’m healthy, then I can go onstage at Let’s Make A Deal and be the best Wayne Brady that everybody wants and expects,” he said. “I can be the best dad that Maile needs. I can be the best friend to Mandie, the best son to my mother, and one day, the best partner to someone, because I’m doing this for me.”