90210''s Trevor Donovan says he didn't want his character's gay sexual encounter "to be this in-your-face moment for a quick ratings boost."
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As he spoke to the show's writers, the 31-year-old actor began to understand the arc of his character Teddy. "It's true to real life, it's happening at a pace I think it would actually happen and it's going to unfold very realistically, [and be] very heartfelt," he says.
Teddy spent last week's episode avoiding his hookup, Ian (Kyle Riabko). So Teddy was less than thrilled when his girlfriend Silver (Jessica Stroup) had Ian teach the boys a dance to perform onstage at a breast-cancer benefit. Tension came to a head when Teddy lashed out at Ian as the rest of the group stood in shock.
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Donovan tells TVGuide.com that he expects more outbursts as the tennis jock struggles with understanding who he is. "Everything is so internal. He's battling with himself," Donovan says. "He's creating his own problems and ... there's going to be a lot of external struggles from other people mostly caused by his frustration, his anger, his denial and confusion."
Among his problems is with Silver. Teddy's rage left Silver appalled and she immediately told him they were over. But, Donovan says, "Ian's very understanding of where Teddy's coming from and helps mend the relationship between Teddy and Silver."
Watch full episodes of 90210
With Teddy's storyline coinciding with the recent focus on bullying and teen suicide, Donovan is joining other celebrities in Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" project with his PSA. "It's not like teen suicide or bullying is a new problem, but it has come to the forefront and it's been nationally publicized and ... it's been an amazing opportunity to educate people," he says.
"There's more layers [this season]," he says."On a show that can tend to be superficial we really dug down into more substance and more crucial issues."
90210 airs Monday at 8/7c on the CW.