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Paul Bettany Says His Devastated Gay Dad Went 'Back Inside The Closet' After His Partner Of 20 Years Died

Paul Bettany Says His Devastated Gay Dad Went 'Back Inside The Closet' After His Partner Of 20 Years Died
Rich Polk/Getty Images for IMDb

Actor Paul Bettany revealed his late father and actor, Thane Bettany, retreated into the closet after his partner of 20 years died.

Bettany, who currently stars in Amazon Studio's Uncle Frank, recalled he and his family were happy when his father came out to them at 63-years-old.

Thane met and fell in love with ballet dancer Andy Clark—also an actor—after divorcing Bettany's mother, Anne, in 1993 after 25 years of marriage.

Bettany told Total Film magazine:

"I had a gay father who died a couple of years ago. He came out of the closet at 63."
"He then had a 20-year relationship with a man called Andy Clark. It was a joyous relief for everybody, actually."

However, Thane's religious concerns took over after his lover passed away.

Bettany continued:

"Once his partner died, [in the 1980s] he [my dad] was in his 80s at that point, my dad decided to go back inside the closet and say that it had all been a big misunderstanding because he was a Catholic and concerned about getting past Peter through the pearly gates."
"The shame he felt for his sexual identity was devastating, He was unable to mourn the person who I think was the love of his life."

Growing up, Bettany's family lived on the campus where Thane taught at Queenswood School—an all-girls boarding school, near Hatfield, Hertfordshire

The Avengers star mentioned the experience of living on campus when he talked about his childhood with The Guardian:

"I was brought up in Willesden in London. We used to live in a little railway cottage with an outside toilet."
"I shared a bedroom with my older sister for a long time, then my parents had a third child, my brother, so my dad decided he wanted to move out of London."
"We moved into a house tied to a girls' public boarding school in Hertfordshire in exquisite grounds."

In Uncle Frank, Bettany plays a literature professor at New York University in the 1970s and is closeted to his family.

The LGBTQ drama was helmed by True Blood director Alan Ball, who came out to his mother at 33 and was told by his mother that his father "might have been that way, too."

Ball told NewNowNext he and Bettany bonded over their shared experiences about their fathers while making the film and said of the actor:

"We talked about it a lot, and the fact we both had very traumatic experiences in our adolescence and how those stayed with us."
"For Paul, the movie became a chance for him to have his own 'what if' story about his father. What if he was able to really embrace who he was and live his life fully?"

Those who've seen the movie are already giving glowing reviews.

You can see what everyone is raving about by watching Uncle Frank, currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.