Grey's Anatomy actor Jake Borelli came out as a gay man following his character's first on-screen same-sex kiss on Thursday's episode.
During "Flowers Grow Out of My Grave," surgical intern Levi Schmitt (Borelli) and Dr. Nico Kim (Alex Landis) took a giant step in their blossoming relationship when they shared a kiss in the elevator.
The moment was not without its drama, however, as Nico took back his interest in the Schmitt after he admitted he had never kissed a guy before that moment, and Nico said he wasn't interested in being a part of his coming out journey.
Marking the beginning of Grey's Anatomy's first relationship between gay men, Borelli took to Instagram following the emotional episode to publicly come out as gay himself.
"As a gay guy myself, tonight's episode was so special to me. This is exactly the kind of story I craved as a young gay kid growing up in Ohio, and it blows my mind that I'm able to bring life to Dr. Levi Schmitt as he begins to grapple with his own sexuality this season on Grey’s Anatomy," Borelli wrote on the caption of a photo of himself.
He added: "His vulnerability and courage inspire me every day, and I hope he can do the same for you. To all of you who feel like little Levis out there, know that I do too, that you are seen, and that we're all in this together. And to everyone who has supported me over the years, I can't thank you enough, and I love you more than all the stars..."
The announcement was met with overwhelming support from fans and the public, many happy to see the groundbreaking storyline on the long-running ABC drama.
Aside from his Instagram post, Borelli spoke with Entertainment Tonight about the exciting storyline for his character, as well as what the story means for other members of the LGBTQ community.
"Growing up gay in Ohio, I craved seeing gay storylines on television. I craved seeing things that reflected who I was at the time. It's mind-blowing that I get to play the story that I would've craved to see when I was younger," He told the outlet. "That was always an exciting factor for me in doing it. I also think there needs to be more representation from people of all different types. With art and TV especially, when you can feel seen, that’s when it's the most impactful and I wanted to do that."
Despite being out to his friends and family for the past 10 years, Borelli said he felt the need to come out publicly now that he had embarked on this story on Grey's.1comments
"I want to live in a world that celebrates authenticity and honesty and openness and courage, and I feel a responsibility to come out on a much larger scale," he said.
Grey's Anatomy airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.