Billy Porter Details His Breakup and Rekindled Romance With His Husband Adam Smith

Kayla Keegan
·4-min read
Billy Porter Details His Breakup and Rekindled Romance With His Husband Adam Smith

From Good Housekeeping

While Billy Porter is going to be front and center Thursday night alongside Lucy Hale, Ciara and Ryan Seacrest for Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve special, the award-winning actor's husband, Adam Porter-Smith, will be cheering him on from afar.

Though Billy and Adam have only been married since 2017, their love story goes all the way back to 2009, according to The New York Times. It all started when Billy spotted Adam during a dinner party they both attended at the restaurant Sosa Borella in New York City. After first laying eyes on him, Billy made it his mission to sit next to Adam.

"I was cruisin' him as he walked up the street, and he stopped, and he was with us!" the Pose star recalled to People. "I was like, 'Oh, well, I’ll be sittin' next to this handsome specimen tonight!'"

The butterflies-in-stomach feeling was mutual, as Adam revealed to the magazine that they were both "enamored with each other from the beginning." And so, they started seeing each other — but after a year or so, they decided to go their separate ways. Still, Billy and Adam remained close friends for years after the breakup.

"I remember saying to my therapist, 'Now I know what love looks like, and it just walked out the door,'" Billy told People. "I didn’t know what it looked like before, and it was after that that I realized: 'Oh, s--t, that’s the one that got away! But now that I know what it looks like, the next time it shows up, I will be ready.' I didn’t realize it was gonna show up as the same person — but I’m grateful that it did."

For his part, Adam also didn't want to let the Kinky Boots star go, and was trying to figure out the right time to ask him to get back together. Then, on Adam's birthday in 2015 while seeing the musical Hamilton together, Billy reached over and held Adam's hand. When the show was over, the two had a conversation while driving to dinner that forever changed their lives.

"I felt it, and the tears came, and I pulled over, and he said, 'I love you, and I’ve always loved you, and if there’s any chance, I would like another shot — I would like us to have another shot at this,'" Billy remembered. "He was the one that got away — so it wasn’t hard. The yes came easy and immediately!"

Just like that, they were back on again — and not long after, they got engaged in December of 2016. Weeks later, the pair tied the knot at a friend's Chelsea penthouse in New York City on January 14, 2017. Even though it was a quick turnaround between engagement and wedding day, Billy told Playbill.com that they wanted to walk down the aisle before President Donald Trump's inauguration on January 20, 2017.

"It was about making sure that that statement was made, because as gay men, we still have to be visible," he explained to the outlet. "We still have to show the world that this is what our love looks like; it’s just like yours. We have to say that out loud."

Reflecting on the ceremony, Billy also explained how much being able to exchange his vows in front of his loved ones meant to him. "As human beings, it’s so vulnerable to say that stuff. The ritual [of marriage] gives you permission. The ritual gives you the safe space to say those kinds of things and to live inside of that. I understand that now. It’s profound."

Billy and Adam have now been married for almost four years, and during that time both have continued to soar in their respective careers. According to Adam's LinkedIn, he served as co-owner of the eyewear brand Native Ken for two years between 2016 and 2018. Meanwhile, Billy has continued to score acting gigs on several TV series, including American Horror Story, The Twilight Zone, and Equal. Apart from continuing to star as Pray Tell on Pose and co-hosting ABC's New Year's Eve special this year, Billy revealed to CBS News that he will also soon play the Fairy Godmother in the upcoming remake of Cinderella.

But no matter where their careers take them, the two will always have their marriage to ground them.

"We both grew up in households where who we are is labeled an 'abomination.' The thought of marriage, there was no context for it — there was no dreaming about it because there was no context to dream; it was unspoken and very clear that the sanctity of marriage was not for us," Billy said to People. "So to see that come around, to see that tide turned, it still takes my breath away. I finally found — we finally found — the thing that has been so elusive, and I’m so excited to share that."

Adam added: "To get to marry the person that you love more than anything is an extraordinary thing, and I finally realized what everyone else has been able to do, I now am able to do myself. And that’s an incredible feeling."

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