Credit: Charley Gallay/

The rumors are true: Salem is about to get its first gay storyline! EW can report exclusively that Freddie Smith (90210) will make his debut June 23 to lay the groundwork for a same-sex relationship on the traditionally conservative show. He’ll play Sonny, a good-natured young man who returns home to join his family.

What Salem clan is he talking about? That’s all Smith is willing to tease for now. “He is the center of attention kind of guy but in a good way,” Smith told EW. “He’s very confident and mature, he’s traveled the world and is very open-minded. I’m very excited to portray him.”

Though he’s been at work for several weeks, Smith has yet to learn the identity of his new “boyfriend” on Days. “I’m going to be surprised,” he said, laughing. “There are a lot of guys on the show, so it’s going to be interesting to see who I end up falling for. Someone new? Someone on the show? We all make jokes, `who am I going to make out with first?’ It’s going to be fun to see.”

While competing sudsers have been in the forefront when it comes to same-sex couples — ABC’s All My Children, for example, featured the first lesbian character in Bianca Montgomery (Eden Riegel), which led to the first gay marriage between her and Reese Williams (Tamara Braun) — Days has largely played a backseat role when it comes to featuring gay couplings.

“I think it will be interesting to see how people respond to it,” Smith said. “I truly care about the whole thing. There’s been a lot of controversy about this and for me to be able to a part of it, to be able to change people and make a difference … I’m really excited to play a character with that much pull.”

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