George Takei expected his career to "fade" when he came out as gay.

George Takei

George Takei

The 79-year-old actor - who is married to long-term partner Brad Altman - went public about his sexuality in 2004 when then-Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger's decision not to sign the marriage equality bill left him "raging".

He said: "When he vetoed it, I was raging. Young people poured out on to Santa Monica Boulevard, venting their fury, and here Brad and I were, comfortable at home, watching the late-night news. I said, 'All right, I've had a good career,' and I was fully prepared for it to fade."

Before he was open about his sexuality, the 'Star Trek' star admitted he "lived in fear" of being outed, as though he would "play the game" and take female pals with him to high-profile public events, it was a different matter behind closed doors.

He told The Guardian newspaper: "You live under the fear of being outed all the time. I played the game. I took a female friend to premieres and parties, and then I'd take her home and go to a gay bar. It was a double life. Interestingly, I recognised some faces in those bars and we'd say 'Hi', but we didn't mention it the day after."

George hit the headlines earlier this year when he objected to his former 'Star Trek' alter ego, Hikaru Sulu, being revealed to be gay in 'Star Trek Beyond' - in which he is played by John Cho - but he insists it is the lack of imagination in changing an existing character's backstory that bothered him, rather than it being the USS Enterprise helmsman himself.

He explained: "Now that we have this opportunity to explore the sexual orientation of the characters, they should have been as creative as ('Star Trek' creator) Gene Roddenberry. Invent a new character who has a whole history as a gay person! Don't change a character that Gene intentionally created as straight."