Christopher Biggins has told how he was reluctant to admit his homosexuality early in his career because he feared his appearances on children's TV would lead to him being considered a "paedophile".
The actor and entertainer said he was confused by his sexuality as a teenager and even married a woman when he was younger, but he wished he had been able to be honest when he realised he was gay.
In an interview with The Big Issue magazine he said: "I wish it had been easier being gay when I was younger. There were pressures then. I was doing lots of children's TV, like Rentaghost, and if you were gay in those days you were considered to be a paedophile."
Biggins, a former star of BBC sitcom Porridge, went on: "I didn't really understand my sexuality when I was a teenager. I knew I had vague inclinations towards other men but it wasn't a big thing.
"Then in my early twenties I met a girl and married her, because I thought that was the thing to do. Ridiculous. I hadn't thought it through and of course it didn't work. Now I've happily been with Neil (Sinclair, his civil partner) for 21 years and that's how it should have been."
The star, who took part in ITV's I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, has also been a host of popular 1980s children's game show On Safari alongside Gillian Taylforth.
In the interview he also suggested that many people who claimed they were bisexual were doing so as a cover for being gay.
Biggins said: "I think the people who fear homosexuality most are the ones who could be gay. The world is full of bisexuals because that's the way they want to do it. What do they do? They ruin a woman's life.
"It's so wrong, because you're not owning up to what you are. You lead a double life so how can you be a real person?"