Former Nickelodeon star Lucas Cruikshank has revealed that he's gay.
The 19-year-old actor, who shot to global fame with his hyper "Fred" persona, announced his sexual preference in a video he posted to YouTube on Wednesday.
In the video, Cruikshank hops into bed with his friend Jennifer Veal, a 20-year-old actress and semi-regular on the Disney Channel series Jessie, to answer questions submitted to him by fans.
Reading queries from her iPhone, Veal asks Cruikshank pointedly: "Are you gay?" before answering the question herself, "He's gay!" At that point, Cruikshank himself throws up his hands and announces joyfully, "I'm gay!"
Cruikshank also reveals that his announcement will come as no surprise to those closest to him. "My family and friends have known for, like, three years," he says in the video. "I just haven't felt the need to announce it on the Internet."
Born and raised in Columbus, Neb., Cruikshank created the tightly wound Fred character for a Halloween video in 2006. Two years later he created the Fred Channel, which became the first personalized YouTube channel to garner one-million subscribers.
Nickelodeon repurposed Cruikshank and the Fred character into four top-rated TV movies. Cruikshank also played the title character of an erratic alien in the Nickelodeon series Marvin Marvin, which aired last year. Cruikshank announced he was officially leaving Nickelodeon in June, 2013.
It's interesting to ponder whether Cruikshank would have come out of the closet if he had spent his career as a Disney child star. The Mouse Network is famously intolerant of what they deem aberrant lifestyle choices or bad decisions.
Consider the cautionary tale of former kid star Mitchel Musso, who spent virtually his entire adolescence toiling on Disney Channel shows like Hannah Montana, Phineas and Ferb and Pair of Kings. Then Musso was arrested on an impaired-driving charge in late 2011. Today it's like he disappeared off the face of the earth.
And remember the English actor Rupert Everett's claim that admitting he was gay ruined his career?
Kudos to Cruikshank for his bold revelation, but should it even be a news story when a young person reveals his or her sexuality anymore? And should we even expect to hear from him again now that Hollywood knows he's gay?