Danny Roberts Goes Back to New Orleans: “A Nice Bookend To The Story”

The Real World: New Orleans heartthrob Danny Roberts still receives messages daily from fans around the world who tell him how he inspired them, and he was their “first crush.” The now 44-year-old single father became a reluctant face of the LGBTQ+ movement when he starred on the popular MTV show in 2000. The tech recruiter is back in the spotlight and back on our screens with the rest of his housemates on The Real World Homecoming: New Orleans airing Wednesdays on Paramount+

Speaking to People Magazine, Roberts remembered auditioning for the ninth season of The Real World,

“I was this young, free, naive 21-year-old ready to take on the world. I had just grown comfortable in my new identity after coming out, and there were a lot of things happening around LGBT rights. It felt like the right time to step up and be a voice.”

Catapulted into fame, at a time when gay role models on television were few and far between, Roberts was for many, myself included, the first time we saw ourselves reflected back to us on screen. Roberts acknowledges this and is still grateful for that, 

“My coming-out story is the genesis of a lot of other people’s in that generation’s coming-out story, but I think so much of that is timing. Matthew Shephard was murdered [for being gay] a year before this season was filmed and kicked off a whole new energy in the LGBT movement. And then I landed right in the middle of that.”

 

According to People magazine, “Roberts quickly became one of the hottest faces on television. Magazine covers, a guest role on Dawson’s Creek, and even a photoshoot with Beyonce. But behind the scenes, Roberts struggled with his new role as a political symbol. The pressure took a toll on his mental health and he stepped away from the spotlight.” 

In 2011 Roberts tested positive for HIV and began,

“Grieving a more innocent, healthy version of myself that’s now gone. I grew up very afraid of HIV and it came out of nowhere. Who knows how long I’d had it. [I began] embracing the knowledge that you’re now a slave to the health care system; and letting go of the deep shame related to it.”

photo credit//paramout+//Daymon Gardner

Today, Roberts is undetectable and “very thankful that we live in an era of science that we do.” A single dad to adopted daughter Naiya. Roberts shares custody with ex-husband Wes Pereira after the two split amicably in 2018. Happily dating boyfriend Austin Roberts was pleased with the Homecoming experience explaining, 

“We’d touched on the impact of fear and inbred hatred, but this was an opportunity to revisit that topic because it’s still very relevant in what’s happening today.”

Echoing the thoughts of a generation Roberts says,

“I think a lot of people are sentimental about this season of the show. This is a nice bookend to the story.”


Sources: People

2 thoughts on “Danny Roberts Goes Back to New Orleans: “A Nice Bookend To The Story””

  1. Seeing Danny on TRW was what inspired me to come out of the closet. I was from a small rural area and related to Danny a lot. Even that little southern accent of his just seemed familiar to me. I thought if he had the courage to be his authentic self on national television while being from a small town, then I had the courage to be out as well.

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