Reality TV Star Dr. Brad Schaeffer Comes Out: 'I Felt It was Time'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday June 11, 2022
Originally published on June 9, 2022

Dr. Brad Schaeffer
Dr. Brad Schaeffer  (Source:Brad Schaeffer/Instagram)

Celebrity podiatrist Dr. Brad Schaeffer of "My Feet Are Killing Me" fame has come out publicly in a recent interview with Today.

The article noted that Dr. Schaeffer has been comfortably out in his personal life for some time, but when he became the star of the TLC reality show he wasn't sure how or when to come out publicly.

But now, after years of celebrity, Schaeffer is doing just that, explaining, "I just finally felt like it was time to do something and say something."

The celebrity doc added: "When you Google yourself, you look up the questions that people are asking." The article noted that one thing people search for online is the doctor's "marital status."

"I don't want any confusion out there," Schaeffer went on to say. "I'm very out there, but I'm not draping myself in a rainbow flag toga and running around Fire Island."

Schaeffer recounted that, in his youth, he "was viewed as a straight-acting, athletic Christian guy," in line with his upbringing, but that was simply a "role" he was playing. He started to realize it when he was 12 years old, but it was a long process.

"I didn't necessarily have a moment in time when I knew I was gay," he told Today. "It was just a slow burn, where it just kept eating at me and churning."

At one point, he made an attempt to "pray the gay away," he said. "I just wanted God to take this trial away from me," Schaeffer said. "I wanted to be part of this world where I didn't have to deal with this trial that was being placed on me."

He even tried marrying a woman — his "high school sweetheart," Cara — but the marriage didn't last. Schaeffer hinted at dark days during the throes of denial. "You hear the stories all the time — depression, anxiety and suicide," he said. "It's something that we've all probably dealt with because this journey can be depressing a lot of times. People can spiral and get out of control."

Cara remains his "best friend," but Schaeffer expressed regret over how he had ended up "messing with other people's lives" as he wrestled to keep his sexuality a secret. When he finally came out — to his wife, to his family — he found acceptance, but he wanted more, asking, "Why don't you just take the time to understand it a little bit?"

"That took my friends and family a while," Schaeffer told Today, "to go from accepting to understanding."

Now happily together with another man for a decade, Schaeffer explained that his partner, Sean, is reluctant to share in fame's limelight, saying, "It's definitely not something that he wants to be a part of. He doesn't want his story to be told totally."

But Schaeffer is ready for more of his story to be known. "In anticipation of this interview being published, Schaeffer introduced subtle hints to his Instagram profile," the Today piece noted. "He added a rainbow border to his profile photo, and added a rainbow heart sticker to a photo shared on his Instagram story."

"It took time," the reality TV star said, "but I'm happy and so confident and excited to openly discuss this in a public forum."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.