Advertisement

Alan Cumming on Owning His Bisexuality and the 'Blessing' of Not Having Kids in His First Marriage (Exclusive)

The host of 'The Traitors' tells PEOPLE life "would've been very different" if he welcomed a child with ex Hilary Lyon

Alan Cumming knows he didn’t enter his first marriage for the right reasons.

The 59-year-old host of The Traitors tied the knot with Hilary Lyon in 1985, seeking security and hoping to prove to his divorced parents that he could succeed where they failed.

“That's not a great thing to do,” Cumming tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I wouldn't recommend that. I was 21 when I got married the first time. I knew I was bisexual when I was married the first time, as did my wife.”

Related: Alan Cumming Says He Felt Suicidal Before Landing 'Goldeneye' Role: 'Hollywood Saved Me'

<p>Steve Back/ANL/Shutterstock</p>

Steve Back/ANL/Shutterstock

Before divorcing in 1993, Cumming and Lyon tried to conceive a child. The Scottish actor realizes life “would've been very different” if he became a dad.

“I have friends who deal with, they've broken up and they're co-parenting. I think that's really difficult,” Cumming says. “I think of it as a blessing that didn't happen because of the way that my life went afterwards and how difficult it would've been. I probably wouldn't have had the inclination to come and live in America, perhaps, if that meant I wasn't going to see my child. Everything happens for a reason.”

Related: Alan Cumming Says He'd 'Totally' Do a 'Romy and Michele' Sequel: 'I'd Be Absolutely Game'

Cumming came out publicly in 1998, the year after appearing in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and Spice World.

“I decided to talk about my sexuality because there was so much speculation and there was no way to talk about it unless you made a big statement and came out,” he says. “I had to find a publication that I felt would talk about my sexuality and the nuance of that in a way where I felt I could control the narrative and it wouldn't be sensationalized. One of the good things about social media — there are many negative things — is that you can actually get your message across. That didn't exist before.”

Mike Coppola/Getty
Mike Coppola/Getty

The Tony Award winner dated both men and women before marrying artist Grant Shaffer in 2007.

“I'd had a lot of bad failed relationships, and I was ready to not have a bad one,” Cumming says. “There's certain things that happened in my life that have made me who I am and made me understand myself so much better. By the time I met Grant — we started going out with each other when we were nearly 40 — all those things had sort of come out and I had done a lot of therapy. I was ready to be honest and open about what I could bring to the table and what I felt I wasn't capable of. We started our relationship just being very honest with each other.”

For more on Alan Cumming, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

Cumming calls honesty “the most important thing in any successful relationship” and jokes that his marriage with Shaffer, 59, feels different “because it's obviously lasted much longer” and “he has a penis.”

“When you've lived as long as I have — I've been in so many different sort of relationships and situations — I just think you have to think that if you're happy in the present, then all those things that happened before are a part of your happiness now,” says The Good Wife star. “And so you can't really wish to change them or have regrets.”

Yvonne Tnt/BFA.com
Yvonne Tnt/BFA.com

Related: Alan Cumming Hopes His Role in 'Instinct' Will Help 'Desensationalize' LGBTQ Actors on TV

Today, Cumming wants to help his fellow members of the LGBTQ+ feel the same way.

“As a member of that community and a proud one, I feel I have a duty actually as someone who has a platform to look back and remember what it felt like,” he says. “I didn't feel that there were role models and people who were well known speaking out [when I was growing up]. Why wouldn't I want to help young queer people who are feeling that they don't belong and that they're worried about their future when there's someone like me who has also felt like that?"

The four-time Emmy nominee encourages anyone going through a tough time to stay the course.

“No matter what you're going through, life is long and things change,” Cumming says. “You can get away from the situation you're in and that you think you never can do when you're young.  You will find your tribe, no matter what that is. I feel now, very supported and beloved. I really like my life now.”

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

New episodes of The Traitors drop Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Peacock.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.