He was seen as a champion for gay actors when he decided to come out of the closet two decades ago.

Now Rupert Everett finds himself in a somewhat less enviable position.

The 53-year-old actor has been rounded on by gay rights groups after saying: "I can't think of anything worse that being brought up by two gay dads."

Everetts comments are likely to offend celebrity parents such as Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish. The couple have a 21-month-old son Zachary, born to a surrogate mother.


Ben Summerskill, chief executive of the gay rights group Stonewall, said: "Rupert should get out a little bit more to see the facts for himself.

"There is absolutely no evidence that the kids of gay parents suffer in the way they are being brought up or in how they develop."

In a provocative interview, Everett - who played a gay father opposite Madonna in 2000 comedy The Next Best Thing - said his mother Sara, 77, wishes he had a wife and children.

"She has met my boyfriend, but I'd imagine she still wishes I had a wife and kids", he said.

"She thinks children need a father and a mother and I agree with her.

"Some people might not agree with that. Fine! That's just my opinion. I'm not speaking on behalf of the gay community.

"In fact, I don't feel like I'm part of any community. The only community I belong to is humanity and we've got too many children on the planet, so it's good not to have more."

In the same interview, Mrs Everett said she wished her son who came out in 1989 was not homosexual.

"In the past I have said that I wish Rupert was straight and I probably still feel that," she said. "I'd like him to have children. Hes so good with children.

"He'd make a wonderful father. But I also think a child needs a mummy and a daddy.

"I've told him that and he takes it very well."

She added: "From what I'm told, Rupert can be a little outspoken, but I don't think he tries to upset anyone on purpose. He just says whats on his mind and doesn't suffer fools gladly."

In 2009, Everett advised young gay actors not to come out because it would damage their careers. "It just doesn't work and you're going to hit a brick wall at some point," he warned.

"You're going to manage to make it roll for a certain amount of time, but at the first sign of failure, they'll cut you right off.

"The fact of the matter is, and I don't care who disagrees, it doesn't work if you're gay."