Billy Porter talks ‘bittersweet’ life post-divorce and dating hopes: ‘She’s back on the market!’
Pose star Billy Porter has opened up about his divorce, making a name for himself as a queer man and selling his home during the Hollywood strikes.
It’s fair to say to say that Porter is experiencing a mix of highs and lows right now. As a musical theatre veteran, he is currently co-producing the London staging of the Pulitzer-Prize-winning queer musical A Strange Loop. However, last month, the star announced that he and his husband-of-six-years, Adam Smith, had made the “amicable and mutual” decision to divorce.
In an interview with the Evening Standard while visiting London, Porter joked: “The whole world knows I’m getting a divorce. Y’all want to talk about my divorce and Ricky Martin’s at the same time?”
His escape to London had offered “a respite from some other s**t”, and he admitted said the visit was “bittersweet” because he’d proposed to Smith there.
The Emmy Award winner said that while relationships are difficult, he will “always love” his ex-husband.
“We made it as far as we could but we learn, we grow and we live,” he added.
Billy Porter was told his queerness was a liability. (Getty)
Porter also joked that London was the perfect place for husband hunting.
“I’m looking forward to the next… adventure. She’s back on the market, looking for an English huzzzband. And you have to spell it just like that: ‘Huzzzband’.”
Despite the personal hardships, Porter remains grateful for his successful career, with Grammy and Tony awards also under his belt. As he waits to collect an Oscar to complete his EGOT status, he also reflected on how he overcame queerness being stigmatised as a “liability” early in his career.
“When I got into the business in the late 80s, I was told that my queerness would be my liability,” he said. “Not just in the music industry, but across the board. And it was a liability. They kicked me out of mainstream R&B.”
Against all the odds, through hard work and determination, Porter “made a name” for himself.
“Not just Broadway. I won an Emmy,” he said, referring to his historic win for Pose. “I’m a fashion icon. Now they need me. Winners write their history, because I’m not supposed to be here looking like this.
“I’m so grateful that I lived long enough as a gay man of a certain age. I lived through the Aids crisis, honey. I lost a whole generation of folks. [But I] know that I’m part of the generation who kicked the door down.”
Billy Porter (R) has spoken about his divorce from Adam Smith. (Getty)
This success has not been enough for him to get through the Hollywood strikes unscathed, however. Although he is a passionate advocate for the walkouts, which are addressing unfair pay and the risks of AI, Porter has had to make sacrifices.
“I have to sell my house,” he admitted. “Yeah, because we’re on strike. And I don’t know when we’re gonna go back [to work]. The life of an artist, until you make f**k-you money – which I haven’t yet – is still cheque-to-cheque.
“I was supposed to be in a new movie and on a new television show starting in September. None of that is happening.”
Porter also spoke about a Deadline report last month that quoted an anonymous executive who said that the studios won’t return to the bargaining table with the Writers’ Guild until “union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses.”
Porter went on: “So, to the person who said ‘we’re going to starve them out until they have to sell their apartments’, you’ve already starved me out.”
The star also denounced Walt Disney chief executive Bob Iger, who faced criticism following an interview with CNBC last month, where he claimed the strikes will have a “very, very damaging effect on the whole business” and described them as very disturbing.
“To hear Bob Iger say that our demands for a living wage are unrealistic, while he makes $78,000 a day, I don’t have any words for it, but: ‘f**k you’,” Porter said.
When filming resumes, Porter will star in a currently untitled biopic about the queer writer James Baldwin.