Jonathan Van Ness went from hairdresser to viral superstar thanks to the web series "Gay of Thrones." Since then he's moved on to more mainstream fame thanks to the success of Netflix's Queer Eye reboot, where Van Ness and four other consultants help people on the road to self-improvement.
On the show, Van Ness stands out for his effervescence and unchecked positivity, but in a new memoir he opens up about darker and more difficult aspects of his life. In Over the Top, he reveals that he was sexually abused at a young age and struggled with addiction for years afterward. "It’s hard for me to be as open as I want to be when there are certain things I haven’t shared publicly," he told the New York Times in a profile that came out Saturday. Per the Times:
But his addiction to sex and drugs got worse. When he was in his early 20s, a couple he met on Grindr introduced him to smoking methamphetamine. He went to rehab twice and relapsed both times. One day, when he was 25, he fainted in a salon while highlighting a client’s hair. The next day he went to Planned Parenthood to diagnose his flulike symptoms. He tested positive for H.I.V. "That day was just as devastating as you would think it would be," he writes.
He now describes himself as a "member of the beautiful H.I.V.-positive community" and explained to the Times that his decision to open up was in response to "When Queer Eye came out, it was really difficult because I was like, 'Do I want to talk about my status?' And then I was like, 'The Trump administration has done everything they can do to have the stigmatization of the L.G.B.T. community thrive around me.'" He added, "I do feel the need to talk about this."
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Originally Appeared on GQ