T.R. Knight, Like George O'Malley, Takes Life in Stride & Carries On

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T.R. Knight, who made headlines Thursday by officially confirming he is gay, is finding that life goes on. And that above all, it's busy.

"I'm trying to fit this into a lunch break," the Grey's Anatomy star said at the beginning of a sit-down interview with Scripps Media. "So let's get going."

It sounds like the right moment to offer an apology for cutting into his eating time, but he's not having it. "No, no, no," he says. "Hit me."

T.R. Knight as George O'Malley
The interview is conducted near the hit show's operating room doors. T.R. Knight (whose given name is Theodore Raymond) who plays the hospital's lovable loser, Dr. George O'Malley, is sitting in a waiting room chair, slightly impatient.

Dressed in his blue scrubs, he invokes the image of George, but he's more focused than the sometimes hapless intern. On that day, when dozens of critics are swarming the set, Knight was one of the in-demand actors for interviews.

The same sort of chaos that sets the tone of the show's hospital has come to life in reality. Journalists are darting from room to room. Some are part of organized tours; others are wandering in and out on their own.

It's a rare day when Grey's Anatomy, one of ABC's crown jewels, opens the door to reporters. Workdays for the cast and crew can turn into 18-hour stretches, giving the actors little time to devote to anything but their scripts. Not only that, but creator Shonda Rhimes is notoriously secretive.

Even when the press is permitted in invited groups, the cast can only be available during a break from shooting.

Knight, 33, who started his stage career in his native Minneapolis before going to New York, is relishing George's growth on this day. In a landscape of "McDreamy" and "McSteamy," the rather-plain George is a man all into himself. And one millions adore unwaveringly.

The character's one-night stand with Meredith was a turning point, he says. She didn't want to continue the relationship, and it shattered him.

"When he apologized to Meredith at the end of the season, he realized what his responsibility was in all of it. After acting in a very childish way, he was growing up," Knight said.

Before landing in primetime, Knight received a Drama Desk nomination for his performance in "Scattergood." Knight says his biggest adjustment was leaving New York's boards for Los Angeles' camera lights.

"George and I are different, but the stages of our lives are the same. Everybody has these stages unless you are shut up in a room somewhere," he says. "Moving from theater to television performance, leaving my friends behind in New York, it was all experiences that changed me."

T.R. Knight and Sandra Oh
He says in general, he tries not to pay attention to the phenomenal success of Grey's Anatomy.

Internet message boards are totally devoted to George, who has emerged as an unlikely sex symbol on the show. But Knight insists that in real life, he has little time to relish the moment.

"I don't mean to say 'Oh, cry for me. I'm successful.' I don't mean that at all," he said. "There's just going to be some insecurities involved with it all. But, as far as I am concerned, life is fine right now.

"I'm just really busy."

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

MEREDITH: "You don't get to call me a whore. When I met you, I thought I had found the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was done! All the boys and all the bars and all the obvious daddy issues, who cares? I was done. You left me. You chose Addison. I'm all glued back together now. I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke. You don't get to call me a whore."
DEREK: "This thing with us is finished. It's over."
MEREDITH: "Finally."
DEREK: "Yeah, it's done."
MEREDITH: "It is done."

There's a reason I said I'd be happy alone. It wasn't 'cause I thought I'd be happy alone. It was because I thought if I loved someone and then it fell apart, I might not make it. It's easier to be alone, because what if you learn that you need love and you don't have it? What if you like it and lean on it? What if you shape your life around it and then it falls apart? Can you even survive that kind of pain? Losing love is like organ damage. It's like dying. The only difference is death ends. This? It could go on forever.