Jonathan Groff On Celebrity Boyfriends And That Madonna Incident

Jonathan Groff Being All Jonathan Groff (Getty)

Jonathan Groff will return to Broadway next week as King George III in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s critically-acclaimed musical Hamilton, and sat down for an entertaining interview with 429, discussing the road to his coming out:

I was twenty-three. It was a month after I left Spring Awakening. I went to Europe alone. It was the first I was ever out of the country. It was the first time I had ever vacationed alone. I was in Florence, and I was journaling. I’ve always kept a journal. All through Spring Awakening—all through high school and ever since—I’ve kept a journal every day. I’d sit in my dressing room at Spring Awakening each night after a performance, and I’d obsessively journal about each night’s performance. So I was sitting in Florence journaling, and I realized I had never once journaled about my boyfriend, and I had been in a relationship with him for three and half years. I wouldn’t even write about it in my journal because I was afraid somebody might read it. But then in Florence I started one day just journaling about him and realized I never had before, and I started wondering, “What is happening?” I knew in that moment I was going to come out of the closet. I came back home and came out to my family first. And then my friends. Then I broke up with that boyfriend and moved out of the apartment we were sharing as “roommates.”

It took his parents a while to come to terms with his sexuality, but eventually they came around. But there was that moment that his dad decided to tune into Looking for the very first time:

But they’ve never watched Looking. They didn’t watch the first season. After I shot the second season and before it aired, I was home for the holidays, and I said to them that the project meant so much to me, that I felt like they should watch. They said they just didn’t want to watch me having sex. So then I go back to New York, and the second season is airing, and I get a call from my dad. He tells me that he was flipping through the channels and sees that Looking is on, and he remembered our conversation about how much it would mean to me if he watched. “So I started watching,” he says. “And there you are in bed with some guy, and he reaches over to get a condom, and I just couldn’t watch it.” My dad literally tuned in to Looking to the most graphic scene I did in the whole series, in which I’m fucking Russell’s character in episode 3 of season 2.

Jonathan and former boyfriend Zachary Quinto (

Jonathan also touches on his dating life, having well-known relationships with Gavin Creel and Zachary Quinto, and if there are differences between dating an actor and a civilian:

I don’t think one is easier than the other. I feel like in dating actors the nice thing about it is they understand the schedules involved or having to leave for three months to shoot something and all of that. But when I was dating Gavin and dating Zach, it was more about the people they were instead of the actors they were, which is the same about the people who aren’t actors that I’ve dated. It’s about them as people and not about any careers or jobs they have.

Finally, Jonathan is asked about the Madonna incident in which she was called out by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Was Jonathan upset she was not allowed to come backstage?

No. Because that bitch was on her phone. You couldn’t miss it from the stage. It was a black void of the audience in front of us and her face there perfectly lit by the light of her iPhone through three-quarters of the show. What was funny about it was that she was there that Saturday night, but at that Saturday matinee Michelle Obama was there. We were collecting for Broadway Cares after the show, and Mrs. Obama stayed in the audience while the Broadway Cares speech happened, and Lin called her out and the audience applauded for her. Then she came backstage and hugged every crew member—the wig girl, all the costume people, every cast member. She said to us—and this is a direct quote—“This is the greatest piece of art I’ve ever seen.” It’s crazy. I’ve never been a part of a theatrical experience in which you have in the audience Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama and Bernadette Peters and Busta Rhymes and Black Thought and Jimmy Fallon and Dick Cheney . . .

Good luck next week, Jonathan!

80's Pop Culture Expert, Shooting At The Walls Of Heartache.