On Thursday episode of “Grey’s Anatomy”, the character Dr Levi Schmitt came out as gay, and so did the actor who plays him.
After the episode aired, actor Jake Borelli posted a photo on Instagram with a message in which he came out to his fans.
“As a gay guy myself, tonight’s episode was so special to me,” the 27-year-old wrote. “This is exactly the kind of story I craved as a young gay kid growing up in Ohio.”
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As a gay guy myself, tonight's episode was so special to me. This is exactly the kind of story I craved as a young gay kid growing up in Ohio, and it blows my mind that I'm able to bring life to Dr. Levi Schmitt as he begins to grapple with his own sexuality this season on Grey’s Anatomy. His vulnerability and courage inspire me every day, and I hope he can do the same for you. To all of you who feel like little Levis out there, know that I do too, that you are seen, and that we're all in this together. And to everyone who has supported me over the years, I can't thank you enough, and I love you more than all the stars…
In the episode, the character’s sexual orientation was revealed when he shared a kiss in an elevator with Dr. Nico Kim, played by Alex Landi.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Borelli spoke about working with showrunner Krista Vernoff to handle the storyline in the most sensitive way possible.
“She pitched the story to me and said how much she wanted Levi to be the character to tell this story, the coming out in your mid-20s story. She expressed how much she wanted me to be the actor to tell it,” he said.
“I’ve known that I was gay since I was very young, 8th or 9th grade, and I came out to myself around that time. The back and forth that Levi’s feeling right now and this confusion with all these new emotions he’s feeling [is] something I had at a much younger age,” Borelli added. “He is coming to terms with his sexuality. He’s learning about his sexuality for the first time. He’s a little bit of a late bloomer.”
Borelli also spoke about how shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” helped him feel comfortable being gay when he was growing up.
“I was fortunate enough to grow up in a time that had ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ as a show and had shows like ‘Glee” and ‘Will and Grace’,” he said. “I had all these giant, iconic television shows telling me that it’s ok to be gay, it’s ok to be out, and growing up in that environment for the last 10 years had made it a little bit more of a welcoming environment for me to come out right now.”