Former Disney star Garrett Clayton is going public with his sexuality.

The 27-year-old actor came out as gay and introduced his longtime boyfriend, Blake Knight, in an emotional Instagram post Monday (August 20).

Clayton said he was inspired to speak out after starring in the forthcoming movie Reach. The actor plays a socially awkward teenager who plans to kill himself until he befriends a new student (Joey Bragg).

"When I read the script for REACH, I immediately knew it was a film I had to be a part of," Clayton wrote. "I have personally dealt with suicide within my own family, intense bullying in high school, and - on top of it all - myself and the man I've been in a relationship with for a long time (@hrhblakeknight) have both experienced shootings within our hometown school systems, and have witnessed the heartache that takes place."

"These topics - not always east to discuss - are all close to my heart, and knowing how serious they are, I wanted to share this with you all. This film has come from the perspectives of people who care deeply about these issues, and if watching it helps even one person... then it was all worth it," he said.

Knight, a Los Angeles-based writer, praised Clayton in a post on his own account.

"So proud of @garrettclayton1 today! He's overcome a lot, and still has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I've ever met," Knight wrote. "Handsome, talented, hilarious, kind... what's not to love?!"

"It's been an awesome journey all over the world together so far, and I'm looking forward to many more years and trips and puppies and movies and naps and dinners and friends! I love you, Gary! #ManCrushMonday #ManCrushEVERYDAY," he added.

Knight also shared a photo of himself and Clayton in costume.

"My #MCM, always... even when dressed up like an apprehensive cow," he wrote.

Clayton is known for playing Tanner in the Disney Channel film Teen Beach Movie and its sequel, Teen Beach 2. He also portrayed Chase on The Fosters and Link in Hairspray Live!
By Annie Martin, UPI.com

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