Aaron O’Connell & Gavin Houston On ‘The Haves And The Have Nots’ Gay Story

Aaron O'Connell, Gavin HoustonDon’t be silly, Wyatt. Smelling your t-shirt is as straight as my Cher CD collection.’

With only three more episodes left in its first season, Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots has become one of OWN’s biggest success stories with its weekly dose of soapy fun filled with the typical betrayals, affairs, manipulations and a bitch slap or two…

…and then there’s Wyatt and Jeffery.

We’ve seen Jeffery (played by actor Gavin Houston) endlessly deny that he’s gay even though the hungry gaze he casts upon the sculpted body of Wyatt (Aaron O’Connell) tells a different story. His burying his face in Wyatt’s discarded shirt to the point of glee? Nope. Not straight. And Jeffrey has even been told point blank by bad girl Candace (the fabulous Tika Sumpter) that she knows he should be waving that Pride flag and not caring what anybody thinks. Despite all that, Jeffrey remains firmly in the closet.

Will things change before the September 3rd season finale, aptly titled “No More Hiding?” And is there any chance that Wyatt might return Jeffrey’s affections? We went to the actors portraying these characters to see what they think about the storyline. We also asked them to give us some hints as to what to expect in the final few episodes of the season.

TheBacklot: Wyatt has called Jeffery a hypocrite because of some of Jeffrey’s actions, but he still never fully calls him out for being in the closet. What’s the reasoning in that?

Aaron O’Connell:  Wyatt knows that he’s aware of things about Jeffery that not everybody knows. I don’t think Wyatt’s fearful of it in any sense, but he wants to use it towards his advantage. He wants to be able to have that in his back pocket in case he needs to bring it out and use it to his advantage. But I know that Wyatt, growing up, has always been kind of a guy to be an outcast, to let everybody down, and any kind of leg up that he can get, he tries to use it toward his advantage.

Aaron O'ConnellWyatt found out about Candace’s escorting while looking for action of his own.

But he does care about Jeffery. He does, although Jeffery’s spending every waking minute with him, it frustrates Wyatt to no end.  But there is that friendship and that positive relationship there where Wyatt does confide in Jeffery and, deep down, does want to make him proud.

[But Wyatt] just wanted to basically let Jeffery know that he’s aware about some things that Jeffery didn’t know that Wyatt was aware about…it’s not one of those things where Wyatt’s trying to make Jeffery afraid of what he knows but just, ‘Jeffery, be careful. If I need a favor from you, if I want to go out with Laura, just know that I got something on you that you’ve got to cut me some slack when I need it.’

TBL: From what we’ve seen, Jeffrey is just unable to come out at this point. His mother seems to be the biggest blocking poin,t but what else do you think is holding him back?

Gavin Houston: I see everything even in adulthood can be related back to your childhood, and I think it’s more about his parents. He’s like a turtle who comes out of his shell to certain people but with his parents he never comes out of that shell. So I think it’s the pressure that they’ve put on him since birth to behave a certain way because they’re people of stature and must conduct life a certain way, so there’s that pressure. And then also wanting to make your parents proud and wanting to keep them happy. It’s funny because there’s a quote I read the other day that said most people live two lives – the life they live and the unlived life within them. I think that’s so true in a lot of ways. A lot of what happened with his parents. I think around them he’s a little boy, and it’s just pleasing them and not pleasing himself.

TBL: Do you think his mother is a bully? She rides him so hard!

GH: Oh, of course! I think she’s probably been doing this since he was a baby. He’s an only child and I’m sure this is how it’s always been. So that’s why he’s like a baby in front of them. She’ll pull his jacket and fix him. One time he saw her and she said, “Say Hi to your Mother.’ She’s very militant with him and he puts on a façade around her. He has glasses on around her and in a lot of ways it’s not who he is.

TBL: Who knew Wyatt was such a heavy sleeper that he wouldn’t know if somebody got into bed with him?

AOC: [laughs] I know. I know. It’s so funny. When we were shooting that scene I was pretending like I was sleeping just to let Gavin be as comfortable so he could do as many different things as he wanted to. It was probably the easiest 30 minutes of shooting I’ve ever had. I just got to lay there and take a nap. It was awesome.

TBL: Gavin, what exactly is Jeffrey’s attraction to Wyatt? Is it because he looks good in a towel or also because he’s been a caregiver to Wyatt in Wyatt’s addiction recovery?

GH: There’s that wall between himself and his family and I feel like there’s a little bit of an infatuation, but also a little bit of love and just that need to be loved. Whenever he’s around Wyatt, he feels loved by Wyatt and not by anybody else, really. Wyatt accepts him and there’s that friendship. I feel like he really wants love and spending all that time with Wyatt and the relationship they have has made him want that even more.

TBL: And it doesn’t hurt that he looks good in a towel!

GH: Right! That helps, as well!

Gavin Houston, Tika SumpterLove her or hate her, Candace (Tika Sumpter) drops truth bombs like nobody’s business.

TBL: In terms of Candace, as much as we might not like her, she could be good for Jeffrey with her speaking the truth to him. Do you see it that way?

GH: My sister is the same way with me! I think she’s like a big sister to him. She’s the only person who can call you out and who knows you inside and out. It’s like an older sister for him. She sees right through him, the whole façade and she’s that voice of truth. She’s like the voice of the audience. ‘We know who you are. Why are you going through this?’

TBL: Will viewers get more of an answer about Wyatt and Jeffery in these next episodes? Is there is some chance that something more is going to happen between them?

AOC: Well, in that direction there is some stuff that happens between Jeffery and Wyatt that, I think, is going to leave people gasping, ‘oh, my gosh! Did that just happen?’ I can say this. It’s going to be unexpected and it’s going to happen unexpectedly. It’s just going to happen over the course of maybe two minutes in the middle of an episode and people are going to be like, ‘oh, my gosh! That just happened!’ Something will happen between those two and it’s going leave people wanting some answers and also kind of gasping for breath because it’s unexpected.

GH: I think you will see the emotions get the better of [Jeffrey]. I definitely feel that you’ll see that he opens up, maybe a little too much, about how he truly feels and who he truly is. There are definitely surprises to come. It’s also interesting that Tyler [Perry] also threw in that obstacle of Wyatt’s ex-girlfriend coming in and what that does for me. It’s interesting and they’ll definitely be interested to see what’s to come in these next few episodes. It’s crazy.

Gavin Houston, Aaron O'ConnellBoth Houston and O’Connell promise surprises for Jeffrey and Wyatt by season’s end.

TBL: Now that the show’s been airing, what are you hearing most from the fans of the show about the storyline?

AOC: Everybody wants to know if Wyatt gets together with Jeffery. What is actually happening there, what’s going to go…is Wyatt going to…is he gay? What’s going on? But I think the biggest thing obviously, was the amount of support that we’ve got from viewers who wanted to pick up another show. I’ve seen nothing but positive, fantastic support amongst people that watch the show, which I couldn’t be more thankful for because again, we wouldn’t have a job if people didn’t enjoy the show and watch it.

I’m trying to think of something that was negative and I really can’t think of anything that was negative that I’ve read. But then again, I don’t try to delve into a bunch of the negativity. I just try to focus on the positive, really relate to the fans when we’re tweeting while the show’s airing. I try to do my best to respond to everybody, and try to get involved with them because I think if I was somebody watching the show, I would love to be able to talk to one of the characters and kind of figure out what was going on when they were shooting that scene or whatever it may be.

GH: I love the fact that it’s getting more and more and more viewers and people are finally catching on. I’ve gotten a lot of comments from people who said ‘I didn’t think it was my thing but then I started and now I’m addicted.” I’m very thankful for it, and I’m happy because I feel like all the storylines are having an effect on people, especially mine, because I feel like so many people can connect to it.

The Haves and the Have Nots airs Tuesdays at 9pm on OWN.