While appearing on Saturday night’s episode of “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” the actor said, “I’m HIV-positive. And I have been for 12 years.”
Pintauro was diagnosed in March 2003 while living in New York, and has been keeping it a secret from the public. On the show, Pintauro went into details, remembering the process and how he felt after being diagnosed.
“There’s this awful feeling of, ‘I’m never going to be able to have a good relationship. No one’s ever going to want me,'” he said. There was, however, a silver lining of sorts, he added. “There was a sense of relief. … It’s backwards. You’ve spent so much time terrified that you’re going to get it, and then you have it. You don’t have to be terrified anymore.”
Explaining why he decided to go public now, Pintauro said, “It’s just a big deal. It’s not something that people are talking about right now really.”
Pintauro came out as gay in 1997, and played the young son of Judith Light, Jonathan, on the ’80s sitcom. He tweeted about the episode before it aired Saturday, calling it “life-changing,” and posted a photo of himself with his husband on Instagram after, calling himself an activist.