Danny Pintauro of “Who’s the Boss?” fame revealed a 12-year-old secret on the latest episode of “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” The 39-year-old former child actor confirmed he’s HIV positive.
During the special, Oprah Winfrey revealed her team had contacted Pintauro to catch up with the former sitcom star and find out what he’s been up to in recent years. However, he surprised the producers, revealing he had a secret he wanted to reveal on the “Where Are They Now” installment.
“I’m ready,” he told Winfrey. “I wanted to tell you this a long time ago but I wasn’t ready. I’m ready now. … I’m HIV positive and I have been for 12 years, and it’s just a big deal. You know, it’s not something that people are talking about right now really. When I first came out, which was before everybody, I mean, Ellen [DeGeneres] and I came out the same year. Rosie [O’Donnell] came out four years after I did. I missed the opportunity to be a beacon of light for gay kids who were going through what I was going through.”
Pintauro, who played Jonathan Brewer on “Who’s the Boss?” (1984-92), came out as gay in 1997 after the National Enquirer threatened to publish the news. He revealed he contracted HIV in February 2003 after a “sexual encounter when he was using meth.”
Although Pintauro insisted he always used condoms, he told People magazine crystal meth wreaked havoc on his immune system. He was 27 when he was diagnosed.
“This guy was not on HIV medications, so his viral load was through the roof, I’m sure -- especially because he’s doing a lot of drugs and not taking care of himself -- so those factors combined to still find a way to have me contract HIV.”
Although Pintauro initially feared he’d never be able to form another relationship, he eventually met Wil Tabares, whom he wed in April 2014 in a beach ceremony in Dana Point, California. He revealed to People he had told Tabares about his diagnosis on their first date.
Tabares and Pintauro’s “Who’s the Boss?” co-stars -- Judith Light and Tony Danza -- have been supportive over the years. But now Danny Pintauro is ready to be a support system for the LGBT community. After his interview with Oprah Winfrey aired he took to Twitter and Instagram to share a message with his followers.
“Last meal as a nobody,” he captioned a photo of him and husband Tabares. “First meal as an activist. #lifelovelive.”
— Danny Pintauro (@dannypintauro) September 27, 2015