*Tears flowed from both Billy Porter and Tamron Hall Wednesday as the two chatted about the actor’s private 14-year battle with HIV, which he revealed late Tuesday in a Hollywood Reporter feature.
The first openly gay man to win the Emmy Award for Lead Actor in a Drama gave Hall his first TV interview about the shocking 2007 diagnosis. He got candid about the parallels to his “Pose” character, Pray Tell, and how the role inspired him to come forward with his secret.
“Playing a character whose life parallels mine, he missed the antiretroviral drugs by one year. Pray Tell missed them and passed on, but Billy didn’t. And look at God,” Porter told Hall. “Look at me, the God that’s in me. And I say God, because we have to start speaking in the right terms. The first thing that’s taken away from us, as LGBTQ people from everybody is our spirituality is God. God hates fags. No, he doesn’t, stop it! I can’t do it, and I won’t do it anymore!”
Plus, Porter details finally getting the courage to tell his mom about his HIV diagnosis just two months ago.
“I told her and she said, ‘Son, I love you. I will always love you. I have always loved you. none of this matters. I just want to know that you’re healthy,’” he recalled. “I was like, ‘I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. I’m a black man that has to go to the doctor every three months. Like I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been.’”
Through tears, Porter said his mom implored him not to hide such things from her anymore. “The thing she said to me was, ‘Stop doing this son. Please stop doing this. I know that I didn’t know how to be the mother that you needed me to be at the beginning of this journey, but it has been decades now. I need you to stop this. … You spent 14 years with this by yourself for no reason.'”
That’s when Tamron broke down as well.