Colton Haynes' star was on the rise. He was a hit on Teen Wolf, which led to him being a hit on Arrow. Then he walked away, nearly entirely from acting, seemingly out of nowhere.
"I asked to step away because I cared more about my mental and physical health than my career at the time," Haynes revealed in a very honest interview at EW.com. The actor described his mental health issues as "terminal anxiety" that make him "physically ill" with syncope and ulcers. "I had to step back," he said. He's the most recent of a group of celebrities who have come forward about mental health issues, perhaps working to combat the stigma that surrounds them (Kristen Bell revealed her own this week as well).
The actor has maintained his relationship with fans through social media, via Tumblr and Instagram accounts where he also shows his continued close friendships with past co-stars. When a Tumblr post about his "secret gay past" prompted him to respond "Was it a secret?" he wasn't prepared for the question of his sexual identity to be news.
"It was a complete shock. I wasn't ready to be back in the headlines," the actor told EW. He confirmed that yes, he's gay, but "just wasn't ready" for that to be a story. "I didn't feel like I owed anyone anything. I think in due time, everyone has to make those decisions when they’re ready, and I wasn’t yet. But I felt like I was letting people down by not coming forward with the rest of what I should have said."
Haynes was in and out of the hospital for three months due to the clinically diagnosed anxiety that was inflamed by the issue.
The actor was already out to family, friends, castmembers, his working bosses, but some in Hollywood advised him to keep it quiet as he built his career. Now that he feels like he's back in control ("I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and healthier than I’ve ever been"), he's looking at all manner of creative career outlets, from a return to acting in film or tv, theater, photography, music, and even fashion.
And yes, he'd also come back to Arrow for more guest appearances, like he did this season.
"Working for Greg [Berlanti] was the greatest experience of my life, and when he offered me Arrow, it was a new beginning for me," Haynes said. "I would love to do more. They know I love them. I’d go back in a second."