Thursday, April 18, 2024

Heartstopper star Joe Locke condemns ‘gross’ speculation about his love life

The stars of the Netflix’s adaptation of Alice Oseman’s graphic novel Heartstopper have dealt with a lot of speculation about their sexualities online since the show premiered. Kit Connor, who plays Nick Nelson on the show, quit Twitter and then came back briefly to come out as bisexual after fans on the internet accused him of “queerbaiting” when he was seen holding hands with a female castmate on a different show. In an interview with GQ published on Tuesday, Connor and his co-star Joe Locke talked about the speculation about their lives, and other massive changes they’ve dealt with since joining the show.

Connor described the rise to fame to GQ as “like you’ve just got your license and you’re suddenly asked to be a getaway driver. There are certain things that you’re asked and expected to do, but you feel so unbelievably unequipped.”

That said, Connor had more experience with fame and acting than his co-star Locke did. Heartstopper was the first role the 18-year-old actor auditioned for and he got it, unwittingly throwing himself directly into the online spotlight when the show finally debuted.

“It was a big change for me,” Connor told GQ. “But for Joe it was literally night and day. It was two very different lives he was living.”

In the time since Heartstopper first premiered, Locke has had to unfollow friends and family who were receiving messages from his fans, his mother had to change her name on Facebook after his baby photos were leaked online, and most recently, tabloids have been feverishly speculating about who the young actor might be dating. This, in particular, has rubbed Locke the wrong way.

“The idea of a tabloid being interested in a teenager’s love life is really gross,” Locke told GQ. “Someone making money out of rumours about who I – an 18-year-old boy – might be liking or talking to, it’s really gross and perverted. I’m 18… I don’t know who I am yet.”

Ty Galiz-Rowe

Ty is a freelance games writer and esports expert.