Ready to tell his story. Juan Pablo Di Pace publicly came out as gay during a recent TEDx Talk.
The Fuller House star, 39, explained to the audience that someone called him an anti-gay slur when he was a child, which made him struggle with his identity and search for acceptance for years.
“I hated that word so much that I spent years perfecting myself to become a very convincing little actor,” he said during his speech, which was uploaded to YouTube on June 29. “I was desperate to fit in. I wanted to know what it was like to be part of life, or if there were other people out there like me.”
But it wasn’t until Di Pace was “offered the role of a lifetime,” playing Jesus Christ in the 2015 NBC miniseries A.D. The Bible Continues, that he finally accepted his true self.
“Of all the people in the world that could play this part, they gave it to me,” he explained to the audience. “So, there I am, hanging on the cross, in Morocco, and I look up at the sky, and I think, ‘You could still strike me down with lightning. Are you sure you want me to play your son? Me?’”
The Dancing With the Stars alum joked that while he “was not struck by lightning,” he did have a powerful experience while hanging on the cross on set.
“What I felt was an overwhelming feeling of love and acceptance and freedom that I could never even put into words,” he recalled. “A message from God? Maybe.”
Di Pace revealed his sexuality to his family and friends more than two decades before his TEDx Talk, but he never publicly disclosed it out of fear that it would have a negative impact on his budding career.
Fortunately, the Buenos Aires native has found plenty of success on the big and small screens. He had a small cameo in the 2008 blockbuster Mamma Mia! before starring on the TNT show Dallas in 2014. He has played Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber)’s husband, Fernando, on Netflix’s Full House revival since 2016, and more recently competed on season 27 of DWTS with pro partner Cheryl Burke.