Jonathan Groff Came Out to His Brother After One Look at Michelangelo’s David

[ Written on October 09 2023 by rory ]

Jonathan Groff reflects on the heartwarming moment he came out to his brother

“I went to Italy when I was 23. It was the first time I had left the country or traveled by myself. It was June 2008, and I had just finished doing Spring Awakening on Broadway for two years. Over a week, I visited Assisi, Siena, and Florence before meeting my brother in Rome, following the Rick Steves guidebook to the letter. On my last day alone, I went to see David at the Accademia Gallery. When you turn the corner, there are rows of other unfinished sculptures by Michelangelo. These figures are so constricted, like they’re straining to be released from the marble and fighting for air. I ached just looking at them. But they lead up to this perfect, liberated form. I started crying and wondered, What is it about this naked man that makes me so emotional? Afterward, I sat in a piazza, journaling, thinking about how nobody here knew or cared about me, and I decided to come out to my brother—who is also named David—the next day. Only my roommate knew I was gay, because he was also my secret boyfriend. I took the train to Rome, and David and I spent the day as tourists. In the evening, we went to this restaurant called Saby’s near our hotel, the Locarno. We were getting pasta, we were getting wine, and I knew that if I didn’t tell him right then, I would never do it. My hands were shaking; my voice was hoarse from talking, because I hadn’t spoken to anyone in seven days. But David also seemed nervous. He said, ‘Jonathan, there’s something I need to talk to you about.’ He told me all about this girl that he was in love with, who is now his wife. It was like he was coming out to me, because we’d never talked about relationships or sex or love in our entire lives as brothers. He teed it up perfectly, and once he gave me all of the details, he said, ‘This is the first time I’ve ever felt this, and I’m wondering, What about you?’ And I shared everything with him. We just showed all of ourselves to each other. It never could have happened anywhere else.”CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER

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