In this new feature called Pride Series, RyeTheNewsGuy.com talks with some powerful LGBT couples in the Broadway community. From how they met, to how they are using their powerful dynamics to make a difference in the world, each couple share their stories of how they got to where they are today. These Pride Series interviews are in honor of the 50th Anniversary of The Stonewall Riots, and to celebrate WorldPride in New York City. This series will run throughout the month of June and each week features a new couple and their stories.
Matt Doyle and Max Clayton are two of Broadway's most electrifying couple both on stage and off and are the second couple in RyeTheNewsGuy.com's Pride Series. Both have a long list of credits which range from Broadway, National Tours,TV/Film and Recording Artist.
Matt Doyle talks exclusively about how he and Max met, learning to take things slow and live in the moment, his personal struggle with depression and destigmatizing it and what Pride means to him.
I'm thrilled to have had the opportunityto talk with Matt and learn more about his and Max's story, and I hope you will enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed talking with Matt.
You can keep up with Matt Doyle and Max Clayton on Twitter and Instagram at @mattfdoyle and @maxmclayton.
Matt Doyle and Max Clayton
Can you tell me a little about how you and Max met?
Max and I met at a Starbucks about four years ago and I think I vaguely recognized him from the industry. I said "hi" because I was standing behind him in line and thought nothing of it. But later he actually got my email from a mutual friend, Cameron Adam, and sent me a message. I think I was dating someone at the time, and I don't like to date two people at once, I'm very bad at that so I told him No. A couple of weeks later it didn't work out with the other person so I reached back out to Max and he was like "Wow, what an introduction." But we had a great first date and we've been together for almost four years now.
That's so special and so cute-- So what was your first date like?
I took him to a place called “Piadina” down in the West Village and sadly I don't think it's there anymore it was this little hole in the wall Italian place. But, yeah, at the time I didn't know what a BIG eater Max was when I first met him. So, I said 'hey, do you like Italian and pasta?' He laughed and was like, 'Oh yeah, you don't know me yet. Yeah, that sounds good.'
Sounds like it was a good first date. Since you both have such crazy busy schedules and are sometimes in other parts of the country or the world for work, how do you keep your relationship strong and what’s your advice for others who are in the same industry or really anyone trying to make it work?
I think mainly for us it's staying super supportive of one another. The nice thing about us is that Max and I don't compete against one and other and I think that's been an easy thing for us because we do very different things even within the industry. It can be really difficult to date someone who's doing the EXACT same thing, or god forbid, going up for the same roles as you. So, we’re just not competitive with one another. We're able to be completely supportive and embrace each other's careers, which is helpful. I know how important a career is and I think he feels the same way. In the case when one of us is out of town, we know that we can make it work and be there for one and other in a supportive way. I know that sounds probably a little lame, but it is an important thing. To just lift each other up versus getting in the way of one another. But beyond that, of course you have to make sacrifices every now and then.
We’re pretty open on social media at this point, but I've definitely learned from past experiences not to display the relationship as much because you never know what's going to happen. But it's been very nice to have a much more grown up a relationship!
That's great advice, especially in showbusiness. So, switching gears a bit-- You both have a huge social media presence and following- how do you use that to help and connect with the LGBTQ community?
Oh gosh, for me it's just being open. Seriously. To me it is the most important thing that you can do. Never being afraid to have to question a post because it involves gay content or might be about my boyfriend or might be referencing something that makes it clear that I'm gay. NEVER EVER holding back on posts because of that. If I were a kid in the middle of the Midwest or even where I grew up looking at a Broadway actors social media, I would want to see that they're completely comfortable with who they are.
Matt Doyle and Max Clayton
That's so important and such great advice — never be afraid of hiding or being you…
Yeah, it really is. To me is the most important thing that you can do for the LGBTQ community is just demonstrate that you are proud and not hiding.
What is one trait that each of you have that you love about that person?
Max is very positive and very warm and very, very social. Anyone that knows him knows that he's like this big puppy dog. He's very sweet and outgoing and just extremely positive.
I tend to be on the more realistic, (not negative) side of things, but definitely a little bit more rooted and I am a little more reserved. I think we balance each other out. I think I'm the yin to his yang.
Matt Doyle and Max Clayton
I feel like in the gay community it can be so hard to find the right person, and more and more it seems the gay community can be scared of commitment. What is your advice for gay men on trying to find love and the right one?
So, Max kind of came into my life in a very easy, slow, and unexpected way. I talk about this with a lot of my friends, but it wasn't the typical like, 'Ooh crazy butterflies on the first date and that's the one that I'm going to go after hot and heavy, and chasing those feelings.' It was just kind of this really wonderful slow build into something that just felt stable and right and comfortable.
I think in terms of relationships, something that I've learned over the years is you should never impose other people's ideas of a relationship onto your own, you know, like work out whatever works for you, what you're comfortable with, what's an appropriate relationship for you and not to hold judgment over others because of how they're in a relationship. Max and I are very, very, very traditional and we enjoy that. But the gay community has a lot of wonderful relationships out there and all seem to function in different ways. That's something that I celebrate about our community.
You've both have done a lot of work with Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids. What’s another cause that's close to your heart?
The Trevor Project is an organization that I really care about. As a teen, I was suicidal when I was around 13 years old and have deeply struggled with depression over the years. I have clinical depression that I've dealt with in the past and deal with on a daily basis as well an anxiety disorder. That being said, I think the most important thing to me is making sure that others know that they're not alone on that and that this is a battle that they don't have to fight alone. And so, I really love the work that The Trevor Project does.
Matt Doyle and Max Clayton
Thanks for sharing that and being so open with your struggles. It's not easy to share that publicly, and I too struggle on the daily with anxiety and depression disorder, so I get it. It’s hard to be in the career you’re in and to be so open with that so I really appreciate that and you being so honest. It's stories like that that can, and I hope, save lives and let people know that "It Gets Better."
Of course. Sometimes it's going on when you least expect it. Somebody could seem like they're on the top of the world and they're actually really struggling, and I've found that with a lot of my friends. I think it's important that we voice it more and express it more when we're struggling so that other people feel less alone. Or that success is somehow a cure — which it’s not.
On a lighter note, what’s next for you guys?
We're taking everything one step at a time. We’re finally moving in together this year. It's been a much slower relationship for me then ones I've had in the past and we’re going to continue to live it that way and just take it one step at a time. We’re not trying to impose any expectations on it and it's going well!!
As we celebrate World Pride here in New York and around the world, what does PRIDE mean to you?
Pride means not hiding. Pride means celebrating who you are and sharing it with the world the same way that any other individual would themselves, you know? So, for me, it's not hiding. For me it's visibility.