Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness has penned a gorgeous new memoir, Over the Top.
The Netflix golden boy, who first launched to fame after the success of Funny or Die’s parody series Gay of Thrones, spent the last year emotionally preparing for the book’s release on September 24. And for good reason.
In Over the Top, Van Ness reveals that he’s an addict, a sexual abuse survivor, and living with HIV.
“I’ve had nightmares every night for the past three months because I’m scared to be this vulnerable with people,” he said to The New York Times. “It’s hard for me to be as open as I want to be when there are certain things I haven’t shared publicly. These are issues that need to be talked about.”
In the book, he opens up about being abused by an older boy from church. Growing up in Quincy, Ill., Van Ness writes that he was bulled on an almost every day basis, which prompted him to feel he "was too fat, too femme, too loud and too unlovable.”
The lack of self-esteem led him down a spiral of sex and drug addiction as he continued his search for self-worth. At some points in his life, he worked as a sex worker on chat sites — too embarrassed to ask his mom for money.
Van Ness found out he was living with HIV after getting tested at Planned Parenthood, writing in Over the Top, “That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be.”
Now, as stated in the Times, he describes himself as an out-and-proud “member of the beautiful HIV-positive community.”
“When Queer Eye came out, it was really difficult because I was like, ‘Do I want to talk about my status?,” he said. “And then I was like, ‘The Trump administration has done everything they can do to have the stigmatization of the LGBT community thrive around me.'"
He added, "I do feel the need to talk about this.”