A father of two with his partner of nine years, Maher said he wanted to use his role as a closeted gay on 'The Playboy Club' to come out of the closet himself.
"I was working on other stuff, and then this role came up, which was like a light bulb going off," Maher said. "I was like, This is perfect. I want to do this, and I want to use it as a platform to come out."
Widely known for his role in the Joss Whedon series 'Firefly' and its subsequent film 'Serenity,' Maher said when he first came to Hollywood, people just assumed he was straight. Not correcting them, Maher went along with it, fearing his homosexuality would jeopardize jobs, specificall one of his first, a short-lived Fox series 'Ryan Caulfield: Year One.'
"I'm 22, I move to L.A., and it's such a cliché, but the day I arrive, publicists from the show took me out to The Ivy for lunch," he said. "They're telling me, 'You know, gosh, we'd really appreciate it if you could keep your girlfriend on the side because we want to appeal to the female demographic of the show.'"
The manager and agent he had at the time encouraged him to keep his sexuality a secret and even after he parted ways with them he continued to do so. "It was so exhausting, and I was so miserable."
Now 36 years old, Maher is ready to be open about his life and embrace his work.
"Creatively, I feel so much more open and free, and I am so happy on 'The Playboy Club,'" he said. "I think it's because I've never been so open on set. All of the relationships that I have off-camera, I never would have allowed five years ago. It feels so liberating."