Congrats king x
And to round off the week with some heartwarming news, the 18-year-old US actor Noah Schnapp has come out as gay in a TikTok posted to his 31.8 million followers. In the video, the Stranger Things star opened up about his experience as a gay teenager, revealing that “when I finally told my friends and family I was gay after being scared in the closet for 18 years… all they said was ‘we know’”.
He also captioned the post with “I guess I’m more similar to Will than I thought”, a reference to his Stranger Things character Will Byers, whose sexuality has been the source of much speculation throughout the show’s run, but particularly this most recent season.
For fans of the show, Will Byers’s unrequited love for best friend Mike Wheeler (played by Finn Wolfhard) had become a central part of online discourse within the fandom, spawning countless memes and the ship name “Byler”.
When the first volume of season four premiered in May 2022, Schanpp had initially said the “beauty of [Will’s character]”, was that it was “up to the audience’s interpretation” to decide whether he was gay or not. However, during an interview in July 2022 after the release of volume 2, Schnapp admitted that “it’s 100 per cent clear that [Will] is gay and he does love Mike”, chalking his previous evasiveness down to spoilers.
S4 has me shipping byler over anything… vol. 2 now‼️— Noah Schnapp (@noah_schnapp) June 3, 2022
During the same exchange, Schnapp also recounted a story where an older gay man approached him to praise his portrayal of Will, expressing how closely the character's experience had mirrored the man's own childhood. “They are writing this real character and this real journey and real struggle and they’re doing it so well,” the actor commented at the end of the tale.
It must’ve been undoubtedly difficult for Schnapp to field speculation about Will’s sexuality – from Twitter stans to probing journos, and even random men on the street – all the while struggling with those same emotions himself. Coming out is no easy task, let alone in front of the whole world, and Schnapp should be praised for handling it all with such grace.