After keeping his diagnosis a secret for 12 years, former child star Danny Pintauro told Oprah Winfrey he is HIV positive during Saturday's episode of Oprah: Where Are They Now?
Pintauro played the son Jonathan on the 80s sitcom Who's the Boss?, which also starred Tony Danza.
Now the 39-year-old former actor told Winfrey he has known about his status since 2003.
"I wanted to tell you this a long time ago, but I wasn't ready — I'm ready now— that I'm HIV positive, and I have been for 12 years," Pintauro told Winfrey. "It's just a big deal. It's not something that people are talking about right now really."
Pintauro came out as gay in 1997, when he was an undergraduate student at Stanford University. But he revealed to Winfrey that he’d felt forced out of the closet because a reporter for the National Enquirer told him the paper was running with the story, regardless of whether he was ready to be out or not.
This time Pintauro wanted to be in control of his coming out story and is hoping to become a role model for others people living with HIV.
"I missed the opportunity to be a beacon of light for gay kids who were going through what I was going through because I was outed; it wasn't by choice," he explained.
Initially worried that being diagnosed with HIV would ruin his chance to find love, Pintauro told Winfrey that he's now been happily married to Wil Tabares. The couple married in 2014.
On the show, Pintauro also talked about his former addiction to crystal meth. He's nnow clean and happy and admits that learning he was HIV-positive was actually a relief.
"You've spent so much time terrified that you're going to get it," he says, "and then you have it, and you don't have to be terrified anymore."