Hollyoaks star Ross Adams opens up about coming out and meeting Mr Right.
On Hollyoaks, handsome Ross Adams plays the wily, devious and yet side-splittingly hilarious Scott Drinkwell. But in real life, Durham born Ross, 32, couldn’t be more different from his wicked on screen persona. When we meet him at the Courthouse Hotel in London’s Soho, he turns out to be a rather charismatic and insightful chap, complete with his trademark glowing tan that’s enhanced even more by his set of super white gnashers that dazzle in the afternoon sun light!
It’s been a great year or so for Ross. Back in May, the former soap storyliner was nominated in the Best Comedy Performance at the TV Soap Awards and is now in the running to win Funniest Male at the upcoming Inside Soap Awards. But away from the glitz and glamour of Hollyoaks, Ross’s personal life is proving to be just as exciting, having only recently got engaged to his parther of three years, Phil Crusham.
Here, a beaming Ross chats to GuysLikeU about how he dealt with bullies at school, found the courage to come out and how meeting his fiance Phil, changed his life forever.
First up, congratulations on your Inside Soap award. You must be chuffed.
I am really excited as it’s the first award that I have been nominated that is actually chosen for by the audience. But this year I’m up against ridiculous talent like Simon Gregson from Corrie, Danny Dyer from EastEnders, so you know, you never know what might happen. But it’s nice just to be nominated. It feels like validation for what you do.
You’ve said before that you don’t think you’re particularly funny yourself but that the show’s writers make you funny, which must mean you’re a great comic actor.
Well, if I am honest, that comes from when I was being picked on at school. I remember at the time I was thinking there are two ways of getting though this – either be a victim and get bullied for being different or to make people laugh, because if they are laughing with me then they are not laughing at me. When I first joined the show Scott was written as this outright vile creature that nobody liked. So when I first joined he broke up John Paul and Ste, he helped kidnap a baby, he poisoned my auntie. But through it all I tried to play him with a certain degree of heart and humour. The writers soon cottoned onto that and have then started writing him like that!
So at school, what kind of bullying were you living with?
Oh you know, the usual kind. It was mainly from boys. It was all that classic, oh ‘he’s a nancy’, and all that. It’s funny I was never out at school, but I guess I it was obvious – I was never a footballer. I hated sports, but loved being in school productions.
Yeah, that’s pretty much a give away.
The strange thing was I did a play called Oh What A Lovely War. I played a field marshall and gave him with a silly voice and had a laugh with it. Those boys who used to call me names thought I was hilarious and thought I was really funny and I thought to myself that this was a great way of connecting with the people that I didn’t have a lot of common ground with. I have to be honest I have been lucky. Even when I told my mum that I was gay just three years ago, she was totally fine about it.
Tell us about that conversation.
I had previously been in a straight relationship for nine years and when that ended I met Phil a while after. And that’s then everything changed. We have been together for six months and he had been so patient and understanding but one day said to me ‘I am not going to rush you to tell anybody you’re gay, but ultimately if we are going to be together, I can’t be a secret.’ Of course, I totally got that and knew I had to do something about it. So my mum came down to visit me and while we were watching Britain’s Got Talent, there was an advert for Pampers nappies on during the ad break. And mum said to me, ‘when are you going to find a nice girl, settle down and make me a grandma.’ And it was that I moment when I thought to myself I just had to tell her there and then about what was going on in my life. It was horrendous for me to say the words, but I did it and she was so understanding. I know I am so lucky to have had the support of my family.
When did she meet Phil?
She came back down to meet him two weeks later and when they did I thought to myself ‘why had I waited so long’? It was brilliant. Sometimes I look back and think I can’t believe I lived that long without saying anything to my family and not being happy. Actually I don’t want to say I was unhappy because during the time I spent with my ex girlfriend, there were some very special moments. We were dating from 19 to 26 , so it was a long time and I really did believe that I was in love with her.
Had you had any sexual confusion when you were younger?
Yeah, yeah I had. But I thought getting into a straight relationship was what I had to do. When I was young I had all these ridiculous feelings that that was expected of me. I thought I would only be accepted if I entered a relationship with a woman. So I got into that relationship and we made it work, but for a lot of time we bumbled around. And neither of us were happy by the end of it. I mean, we never lived together. We’d met at uni, we’d break up and get back together again.
Do you think your girlfriend ever suspected you might be gay?
Only when I watched Jane McDonald on Loose Women and I’d say, ‘oooh I love her!’ ha! No, I don’t think she did to be honest. I was a much different person back then. I was much more repressed.
That’s strange to hear because you have this amazing air of confidence.
I am from a really small mining town in Durham in Newcastle. I remember thinking I can’t be this gay person because I’d be the only one in school. As a kid when you’re still forming your opinions, you do what you think the right thing is to do. But my experience of coming out has been so positive that I would now encourage everybody to do the same. Just be who you are. I can say that my career and my life has got better as a result of being who I am.
When you and Phil started dating, did you let your ex know?
No, I didn’t. But then I had been single a year and a half when I met Phil. When we broke up for the final time, we both made the decision that that would be that and that we wouldn’t get back in touch. We haven’t had contact since, but I’m sure she knows now.
So take us back, how did you meet Phil?
One of my best friends had mutual friends with Phil’s friends and we met up on a night out and got talking. At the end of the night, we swapped numbers. At the time I didn’t read too much into it, but then he texted me and we met up. The more we got know each other I suddenly began to fall for him.
You’re engaged now, what made you realise he was the one.
One of my friends said to me recently, ‘when did you know he was the one?’ and I said it was when he met my mum and she fell in love with him. Her acceptance of him made it more special, because I think my mum had never really accepted my straight relationship, even though she’d never told me why she’d always given me the impression that she had never agreed with it. But Phil and my mum got on famously. And that was when I thought this is what I want. Phil is such a good person. I was massively attracted to the fact that he was fundamentally good and nice and decent.
That’s lovely, because there’s this horrible cliché about gay relationships that where gays are jumping from guy to another like human centipedes, it’s nice to hear about a good old fashioned couple.
Oh God, we are so old fashioned. I like that about Phil. Our mindsets are very similar. We both wanted marriage and wanted kids. I’m 32 and he’s just turned 30.
Before you proposed, did you not fancy dating other guys before you settled on one to see what’s out there?
No, not really. I am used to being in long term relationships. I like the security of them, so why would I want to do that when what we have was so much together. We have a house together we are lucky to have what we have. Phil gives me everything I need.
So tell us about this proposal….
So the plan was I was going to take him away for a surprise early birthday trip to New York. I’d already booked his time off with his boss, but then I got to thinking that he’d go mad if I packed his bag and didn’t pack like his best shirt or something, so I felt like I had to tell him about the trip. So I took him to the Grill on New York street in Manchester and him the card that had a picture of New York on the front and a dollar bill inside with a note that said ‘You’ll be needing more of these because next week your birthday starts early. We’re off to New York.’ He was very happy.
Awww, how cute.
So a week after, we flew out to New York. When I got there, I knew that I was going to propose on our last night. The plan was I was going to take him Tiffany’s to suss out what kind of ring he liked and then get him to disappear for minute so I could buy the ring without him knowing. The only problem was Phil is very organised and had made an intinery that ran from 7am right up to midnight very day. So he hurried us on to the next thing without me getting the ring. I was like – eek! So then I got into a panic because my plan wasn’t working. So that night we went for a meal at a roof top bar. Phil thanked me for the trip and told me he had had the best birthday ever. I was dead nervous and I said, ‘well there is one way I could make the holiday even better.’ And he said, ‘what?’ and then I did it and said, ‘ will you marry me?’ And he said yes. The next day we didn’t have to fly home until much later in the day, so we went back to Tiffany, got the ring and then I proposed on 230 on Fifth that over looks the Empire State building.
How romantic. So are your wedding plans underway?
So we’re planning to get married in April 2018, because of Phil’s planning and because next year all of our friends are getting married too so we didn’t want to get lost in all of those.
Will you have Hollyoaks beauties as bridesmaids like Kieron Richardson had?
Well, we have talked about that yet. The venues we are looking at are relatively small – besides I don’t want any bridesmaids taking away my limelight, you know what I mean! Haha! So actually, no, I don’t think we’ll be asking the Hollyoaks girls to be bridesmaids. In fact, I don’t think we’ll be having any bridesmaids any way, because if you ask one person to do it, then you feel you have the pressure to ask another and trying not to upset others. In this day and age weddings don’t have to be traditional. You can do what you like. Whatever happens I know it will be awesome.
Ross is nominated in the Funniest Male category at this year’s Inside Soap Awards. To vote CLICK HERE