In this week's issue of Entertainment Weekly, the former Arrow star publicly addressed his sexuality for the first time, officially coming out as gay.
Speculation started in January after he reblogged a fan's Tumblr post about his "secret gay past" and responded: "Was it a secret? Let's all just enjoy life & have no regrets :)."
"It was a complete shock. I wasn't ready to be back in the headlines," said Haynes, 27, who explained he didn't give the reply much thought when he first posted it. "I should have made a comment or a statement, but I just wasn't ready. I didn't feel like I owed anyone anything."
"I think in due time, everyone has to make those decisions when they're ready, and I wasn't yet," he added.
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"I asked to step away because I cared more about my mental and physical health than my career at the time," he said, revealing that he's had "terminal anxiety my entire life."
As Haynes explained it, he was "physically ill, fainting."
"I'm 27 years old, and I have an ulcer," he said. "I had to step back."
"People want you to be that GQ image that you put out, but people don't realize what it's like to act 24 hours a day. I'd go home and I was still acting," he said. "People who are so judgmental about those who are gay or different don't realize that acting 24 hours a day is the most exhausting thing in the world."
Haynes – who has been out for most of his life to those closest to him, including family, costars and certain Hollywood bosses like Arrow creator Greg Berlanti – is now ready to open up to the world and start the next chapter of his life.
"It took me so long to get to this point, but I'm doing so good," he said. "I'm happier than I've ever been, and healthier than I've ever been, and that's what I care about."
And while he's working on new projects, including a potential book and starting his first clothing line for men and women, he would still consider returning to Arrow: "I would love to do more. They know I love them. I'd go back in a second."
On Thursday, Haynes took to Twitter to share a link to the article and explain why he decided to open up.
"I believe in [living] life to the fullest [and] [taking] control of your life story," he wrote. "More to come."