Who Is Tyler Blackburn? New Details About The 'Pretty Little Liars' Actor And His Coming Out Journey

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Who Is Tyler Blackburn? New Details About The 'Pretty Little Liars' Actor And His Coming Out Journey
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Tyler Blackburn is living his truth: after starring as gay war veteran and amputee Sgt. Alex Manes on Roswell, New Mexico, he has come out himself. Blackburn, who was featured on the front page of the April 2019 issue of The Advocate, an LGBTQ-interest magazine, has told the world he is bisexual. “I’m queer,” he said, but specified he has identified as bisexual for years. “I just want to feel powerful in my own skin, and my own mind, and in my own heart.” He noted that finding a label and using it does not guarantee the feeling of fulfilling that label.

“Just because you decide ‘I am this thing’ doesn’t mean you immediately feel like you fit into that thing,” he told the magazine. “That’s another part of the journey that I still don’t always know how to navigate, but I’m feeling more courageous and fortified to explore.”

Blackburn has been a popular figure in pop culture for nearly a decade, but has managed to keep his personal life mostly under wraps until now. Who is Tyler Blackburn? Below are five details about the actor and artist.

1. He is best known for his television roles

Tyler Blackburn has been on TV since 2006, first in a guest role on the Nickelodeon series Unfabulous in 2006. He was also in Cold Case for an episode in 2009. Blackburn had a soap opera stint in 2010, when he played Ian for 17 episodes in Days of Our Lives. His big break came in October 2010, when he joined the cast of Pretty Little Liars in the recurring role of Caleb Rivers. By the third season of the show, in the summer of 2012, he was upgraded to being a series regular. In 2013, Blackburn joined the Pretty Little Liars spin-off Ravenswood as a star. Blackburn won three Teen Choice Awards from 2014 to 2016, twice for Choice Summer TV Star: Male, and once for Choice TV: Chemistry, with Ashley Benson.

In 2019, he left the high school drama of PLL behind for science fiction on the CW through a main role on Roswell, New Mexico. The show is a second TV adaptation of the Roswell High book series by Melinda Metz. Critics do not find this series much better than the first adaptation: the Rotten Tomatoes critic consensus reports that “Roswell, New Mexico admirably adds modern political context to its premise, but this reboot hews too closely to its predecessor to transcend the pitfalls of a redundant retread.” It has an average critical rating of 53% on the website.

A post shared by Tyler Blackburn (@tylerjblackburn) on Apr 21, 2019 at 1:07pm PDT

Pretty Little Liars and Roswell, New Mexico actor Tyler Blackburn.

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2. He’s also a musician

Some of his music has been tied to his acting gigs. He was in the web series Wendy in 2011, and recorded an original song, “Save Me,” for the show. His other songs include "Find a Way" and "Hard to Forget." He has collaborated with Novi two times. The latest, "Can't Love Me," dropped on Apr. 11.

3. He had a tumor removed when he was 10 years old

Blackburn has a “fairly jagged” four-inch long scar on his left shoulder from a surgery he underwent when he was just 10-years-old. Doctors removed a bone tumor that ended up being benign. Blackburn told Maxim the kinds of stories he’d make up about the scar. “I used to tell people all kinds of stories, such as a shark attack, or a stab wound from my time on the mean streets of suburban Los Angeles.” He also shared what he thought of the tumor. “I think I was trying to grow another arm so I could get more shit done.”

A post shared by Tyler Blackburn (@tylerjblackburn) on Feb 19, 2019 at 11:17am PST

A shirtless shot of Blackburn in Costa Rica.

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4. He was bullied in high school

He reflected on his high school years in his interview with The Advocate, when he lived with “self-hatred and shame” every day.

“I got bullied a lot by other boys, and I just felt like my soul was slowly being taken from me. I ended up eating lunch in my biology classroom in 10th grade, and I had no one to talk to. You form a shell around yourself for protection. And you start to make decisions based off of things outside of what you want and who you are. I stopped doing so many of the things that I loved doing because it felt safer. That right there is the outcome of oppression. When you literally have to mute who you are in order to feel safe. That’s soul-crushing.”

5. He has identified as bisexual since he was a teen

Blackburn told The Advocate that he identified as bisexual since those high school years, which were exacerbated by his difficulty coming to terms with his sexuality. As with many other bisexuals in the queer community, he has struggled with society’s expectations to remain within the rigid binary of only being attracted to one gender. “I heard so many things from within the queer community about bisexuality being a cop-out or bullshit or the easy way out or something, and that always stuck with me because I felt the pressure from all sides to have [my sexuality] figured out,” he told The Advocate. “And I think for the longest time, I suppressed more of my attraction to men. It wasn’t until my late 20s, towards the end of Pretty Little Liars, that I really allowed myself to go there and not just wonder about it or lust over it, but experience that vulnerability and experience the emotional aspect of what it is to be bisexual.”

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Alison Cerri is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.