From Child Star to Activist: Danny Pintauro's New Role

Danny Pintauro (R) (Facebook)

Danny Pintauro, now 39, is fondly remembered for his long run on the sitcom "Who's the Boss" and for starring in the Stephen King penned chiller "Cujo"(1983). Then a rising star, Pintauro was perhaps the cutest kid in Hollywood.

But Tinseltown doesn't let people grow older. After "Who's The Boss" ended, Pintauro found himself out of work.

Danny Pintauro today is an out, proud gay man, living with his husband Will Tabares in Las Vegas. His Hollywood years may be behind him, but he lives a rich and full life.

Many people were surprised last month when Pintauro, who came out as gay in 1997, revealed to Oprah that he was a former meth user who had been diagnosed as HIV positive twelve years ago. Pintauro now hopes to be a gay activist and to raise HIV awareness.

"Each reveal felt like a little bit more weight had been lifted from my shoulders," Pintauro told SFGN. "Less because the information was finally out there and more because I filmed the interview with Oprah in May. May! And I had to wait until mid-September to tell anyone about it. So I was happy that we finally reached that place."

Pintauro said that he has no regrets about coming out positive. "The response has been so much greater than I ever expected, and it's a bit overwhelming right now," he said. "It's a good overwhelmed."

Pintauro also said that he would like to try to write back to all those he's heard from, some of whom shared their own stories with him.

"I had actually wanted to talk about these issues about six years ago but the timing just wasn't right," he said. "It was near the end of Oprah's talk show and nearly everyone wanted to be on, so we weren't really able to connect with her," he said. "I wasn't ready, though — I was using the activism as a way to hopefully make life's problems go away."

When Oprah's team contacted him, Pintauro knew the time was right. He has since appeared on “The View,” where he further discussed his HIV status and his past meth use.

Though his acting career stalled and he made some harmful choices in the past, Pintauro got his life back on track. He and Tabares are happy together.

"I do very much say that I moved to Vegas to meet my husband," he said. "I was looking to move out of LA and had a couple of options for places to move. Vegas ended up standing out, and I truly believe that its because the fates had meeting my husband in mind."

Like many, Pintauro is still amazed that they are able to live as a legally married couple.

"When I first came out in 1997 there was barely a glimmer of hope when it came to gay rights, never mind the right to get married," he said. "A glimmer of possibility was starting to shine as TV and film was starting to portray the LGBT community in a positive light."

He said that for a long time adhering to the traditions of marriage didn't seem all that important to him. "Of course as I got older and realized all of the legal, medical and insurance kinds of reasons to have the right to marry it became much more important to me to make sure we secured that right," he said.

Pintauro said that he had good relationships with his co-stars, and recently reconnected with "Who's The Boss" stars Tony Danza and Judith Light. "Tony has been a huge supporter of my husband and I, going so far as to send us a wedding gift," he said. "And of course Judith is nothing but supportive of every endeavor."

He urges parents of child actors to prepare their kids for a life outside of showbiz, stressing the importance of education.

"In between trying to be an actor again I spent a lot of time trying to find myself," he recalls. "Talent agent, casting assistant, ticket taker, server. I worked at a pet store for awhile."

The service industry worked well for him. He got into restaurant management while his husband worked as a hotel manager. They hope to open a bed-and-breakfast together.

And what's next for husband, actor and AIDS activist Danny Pintauro? Time will tell.


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