Step Up actress Alyson Stoner has spoken about her struggle to accept her sexuality and falling in love with a woman.
The star of Disney Channel shows including The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody, as well as Jonas Brothers film Camp Rock, said she has realised she is attracted to both men and women.
Writing in Teen Vogue, Stoner, 24, said meeting a female dance instructor “changed everything I knew about myself as a woman, human being, and performer”.
She said: “After I dizzied myself from doing knee spins, she walked toward me to correct my form,” she wrote. “My heart raced wildly and my body grew hot. Was I nervous to fail in front of an expert? Was I breathing heavily from being out of shape? Her smile was the most electrifying thing I’d ever seen.
“I left the workshop and texted my mother and best friend, saying, ‘I met a woman today, I’m not sure who she is or what I’m feeling, but I think she’s going to be in my life for a very long time’.”
Stoner said the pair text each other frequently, adding: “Our bond didn’t feel quite sisterly or platonic.”
She continued: “I realised I had never fantasised about a guy this way, nor really ever felt comfortable dating guys.
“Come to think of it, I stared at women’s bodies more than anything. But wasn’t that just societal conditioning or the unattainable beauty standards that fuel comparison and objectification? I refused to entertain other possibilities.
“She and I continued to hang out and began sending good morning texts. Then we made dinner and watched Orange Is The New Black.
“Then we vented and supported each other. Then cuddled. Then kissed and kissed some more.
“OK, we were in a relationship. I fell in love with a woman.”
Stoner said she struggled to accept her feelings and tried to rationalise why she might be experiencing them.
She said: “My faith at that time played a large role in every aspect of my life, and my worldview neither supported nor accepted same-sex relationships. I prayed in turmoil nightly, begging to be healed from these desires.
“Certain pastors and community members tried to reverse and eliminate my attraction to her.
“I pursued physical relationships with men to convince myself that my love for her was just a spiritual battle attacking my character and discernment.”
She added that some people warned her that she would ruin her career and even “potentially put my life in danger if I ever came out”.
However, Stoner said she now accepts who she is.
She wrote: “I, Alyson, am attracted to men, women, and people who identify in other ways.
“I can love people of every gender identity and expression. It is the soul that captivates me. It is the love we can build and the goodness we can contribute to the world by supporting each other’s best journeys.”