Danny Pintauro (46) was not exactly interested in getting back to acting. “I had a lot of trauma from my time after Who’s the Boss?” he says. He became addicted to drugs, got an HIV diagnosis, struggled financially, and faced professional rejection over and over.
He says that he thought, “maybe I was a child actor, and that’s all I was supposed to be.” However, he now is looking to the future as someone who’s survived the worst and knows better days are ahead. “Possibilities,” he says, “are out there.”
He was correct to be hopeful. After telling his husband, Wil Tabares, 54, about his plan to get back into Hollywood, Pintauro quit his job as a veterinarian technician, called his former manager, got his first audition, and landed a role on A Country Christmas Harmony, playing the best friend and assistant to a country singer (Brooke Elliott) trying to boost her sagging career. “I couldn’t believe it,” he says of getting the very first thing he tried out for.
Part of his troubles and his need to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol stemmed from his struggle with his sexuality. Though he wasn’t yet out, Pintauro says his sexuality was obvious to others. “They didn’t feel like my character dating a girl was believable,” he says. So he was stuck with banal storylines like accidentally scratching a car. “I didn’t understand why,” says Pintauro, who thought, “They don’t want me to be here.”
A move to New York resulted in New York being “an ugly place” with bad memories, says Pintauro, who began taking medication to treat the HIV virus. For a fresh start, he moved back to L.A., weaned himself off drugs without going to rehab, and tried to get back into acting.
Friends and family are excited to see his new movie and to see what his future holds.