Welcome to Next Question With Michael Musto, a regular feature in which Musto uses his time-honed skills to interrogate big celebrities, former celebrities, and wannabe celebrities. Musto is a pop culture icon, regular TV presence, and the author of four books.
If anyone is intimate with fashion, it’s model-slash-paramour Nick Gruber. Which is why it should come as no surprise that Gruber is will be taking his Calvin Klein underwear-clad bod down the runway as a model this coming Fashion Week. The 23-year-old on-again-off-again boyfriend of the slightly older Calvin Klein has engaged publicist Matt Rich to promote that frisky new venture, plus Gruber's proposed business based on other forms of severe physical activity.
Alas, Nick Gruber keeps getting physical in other ways: just after we sat down for this interview, Gruber was involved in an unfortunate “gays shouldn’t touch me” brouhaha on Fire Island. This according to gay porn star/producer Michael Lucas—who’d bought a VIP tent for the party—and who updated his Facebook today to read:
“I saw this arrogant guy who was being rude to people, shoving two guys away after they bumped into him. I heard him say, ‘Keep your hands away from me! I’m straight!’ I went up to him and he said, ‘I am straight and I don’t want any gay people to touch me!’ I said, ‘You’re leaving.’ He said, ‘Do you know who I am?’ I had security haul him away. Then someone explained to me that this is the ex boyfriend of Calvin Klein, and he just ‘came out’ as ‘straight’.”
I asked publicist Matt Rich for a comment from Nick, and Matt replied, “Nick was the guest of Hal Rubenstein and David Nichols and wasn't familiar with how these mass events work in terms of ‘areas’ and VIP areas. Nick overreacted when he was told to leave one area. He is sending a private apology to Mr. Lucas. It was Nick’s first time at Fire Island, and he was glad to be there with several friends and support the cause.”
Let’s get “straight” to the interview and then discuss.
Hi, Nick. Is it weird to be famous because of who you dated?
But you want to extend your fame, right? You’ve hired a personal publicist.
I want to build my own image and build a living as Nick Gruber. I want to clean up my image and also I’m modeling now and I’m building a new company dealing in skydiving, kiteboarding, rock climbing, kickboxing—all the extreme sports that I’ve loved.
How does that work?
A client will hire me and they have experience in some kind of sports. If they like skydiving, that person and I will go skydiving together and I’ll coach them through it. I’ll be that person to re-establish and re-teach them what they love to do.
Speaking of daredevil acts, why did you drop the idea of writing a tell-all book about Calvin? Did he pay you off?
That was false information. I never said that I was gonna write a book. I never would do something like that or hurt someone that I love.
When Calvin threw that Indochine party for your birthday in 2011 and you were surrounded by all sorts of fawning fashion types and paparazzi (who normally would never be seen within a mile of an ex-porn star), what did you think?
It was the best party I ever had in my life—an experience I can never forget, no matter how old I am. I’m thankful to Calvin for throwing the party for me.
You didn’t feel like you were being shown off like an object?
Not at all, because we had true love. We still care for one another. He’d never use me like that.
Why is it so important for you to tell people you’re not gay?
Because that’s false information. I don’t believe in labels, I believe in what my heart tells me I love. If people say, “What are you?” I say, “I’m not gay. I’m straight, but I believe in love.”
You mean Calvin never even got a blowjob out of all that?
Well, “straight” is a label. But so is “bisexual.” Wouldn’t that one better describe you?
Not at all.
But you’ve had relationships with men.
The only one I had was with Calvin. I don’t believe in labels. I believe in love. If someone asks me what I am, I’d say primarily straight.
Well, I’m primarily gay! [I laugh, he wisely doesn’t.] How did you get involved in fashion?
I got involved by meeting the right people, who have given me inspiration and told me I can be a model. I’m doing one show and pending two other shows. I’m doing Malan Breton and attending Zang Toi and Carlos Campos castings.
Whom do you admire in the culture?
That’s a good question. Could we come back to that?
Sure. Recently you were involved in a bloody fight at a Hamptons club. Are you learning to tame those tendencies?
I don’t want to talk about that. I’m not a bad person, I’m a great, loving caring person.
But you’ve hit people.
That whole incident happened…it was a mistake. I was provoked.
In the future, will you avoid violence?
It’s not me at all.
How have your looks changed?
You look a lot slicker these days.
I look more lean and ripped, I can say that.
Are you not close anymore with John Luciano [the 49-year-old you were photographed kissing while holding bags from Barneys and Ralph Lauren]?
No. He was only a friend. It was never a relationship about ever being together.
Were you ever a rentboy, escort, anything like that?
Never once in my life.
But you won’t say how you met Calvin.
We met through friends.
Has your life been bizarre, surreal, and exciting these last few years?
It’s been really exciting because I’m doing things I love and following my dream. I believe in faith, and things are coming down my path in a great way.
How did you get through your rough childhood?
By having great people in my life. My family took me to church every day—twice on Sundays. I became a stronger and hard working person because all I had was myself. I still attend church and still talk to my family. I just moved back to New York. Every Friday I go to Shabbat dinners.
Let’s go back to “Whom do you admire in the culture?”
I admire Lindsay Lohan because she keep on trying.
[Source image from Getty.]