Jonathan Groff reveals the famous artwork that prompted him to come out to his brother

Actor Jonathan Groff (above) has been talking to Condé Nast Traveler about notable vacations. He revealed that a trip to Italy when he was 23, had a big impact on him. Seeing the statue of Michelangelo’s David prompted him to come out to his older brother.

It was June 2008 and the first time Groff, 38, had traveled alone.

He visited Assisi, Siena, and Florence, before moving on to Rome to meet his brother. Whilst in Florence, Groff visited the famous Accademia Gallery, which houses many sculptures by the Renaissance sculptor and painter, Michelangelo.

“These figures are so constricted, like they’re straining to be released from the marble and fighting for air. I ached just looking at them. But they lead up to this perfect, liberated form. I started crying and wondered, What is it about this naked man that makes me so emotional?” said Groff.

Michelangelo's David
Michelangelo’s David (Photo: Shutterstock)

“Afterward, I sat in a piazza, journaling, thinking about how nobody here knew or cared about me, and I decided to come out to my brother—who is also named David—the next day.”

“I shared everything with him”

Groff says he and his brother spent the day sightseeing around Rome. They went for dinner in the evening.

“We were getting pasta, we were getting wine, and I knew that if I didn’t tell him right then, I would never do it.”

Groff’s brother, David, then surprised him by telling him about a woman he’d fallen in love with. They’re now married.

“It was like he was coming out to me, because we’d never talked about relationships or sex or love in our entire lives as brothers,” Groff said. “He teed it up perfectly, and once he gave me all of the details, he said, ‘This is the first time I’ve ever felt this, and I’m wondering, What about you?’ And I shared everything with him. We just showed all of ourselves to each other. It never could have happened anywhere else.”

Jonathan Groff was born in 1985 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He began to make waves as an actor on Broadway with a lead role in Spring Awakening (2006-2008). He has since appeared in the cult queer TV show Looking, the original stage version of Hamilton, the Netflix crime drama Mindhunter, and the recent horror flick Knock At The Cabin. He’s currently back on stage in Merrily We Roll Along at the Hudson Theatre in New York City.

Teacher fired after showing students a photo of ‘David’

Michelangelo’s statue of David, first unveiled in 1504, is one of the most famous sculptures in the world. However, its naked form has prompted recent controversy. Earlier this year a principal in Florida was fired after showing a photo of the statue to students during an art history class. A couple of parents had complained, with one saying they thought it “pornographic”. Officials in Italy subsequently invited the teacher, Hope Carrasquilla, to Florence to see the statue herself.

“David was magnificent in person,” Carrasquilla later told NPR. “All students should study the Renaissance, not only the art but the history as well.”

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