With the season five premiere of Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva this Sunday, we caught up with the latest addition to the cast, former college football player Justin Deeley.
Deeley was a stand-out DB at St. Xavier High School, racking up 13 career interceptions and being named first-team All-District his senior season. While he hoped to play football at the University of Illinois, he settled for an opportunity with his hometown Louisville Cardinals. After red-shirting his freshman year, he opted to step away from football and transition to acting. Since arriving in Los Angeles after graduating from Louisville in 2008, he's appeared in various productions, including the reboot of 90210.
While he once had NFL aspirations, he doesn't regret walking away from organized football. He gets his sports fix in the stands of high school football games and college basketball. His favorite pro sports team is the Miami Dolphins.
The one aspect of football Deeley does miss is the locker room, where he says camaraderie is built. Despite playing high school and college ball in Kentucky, he believes his teams would have accepted a gay teammate in that locker room.
"I think at first guys might have gotten quiet," Deeley said of a teammate coming out. "But after a couple weeks guys would have gotten used to it and it would have been business as usual."
Deeley himself would have no problem with a gay teammate. While he admitted Kentucky wasn't the most gay-friendly place in the world to grow up, he said his eyes have opened since breaking away from the Louisville area. While he has no gay family members, he has friends who are gay. In fact, he recently got wind that one of his former high school teammates has come out as gay.
It's impossible to Google Deeley's name without stumbling across his stint as an underwear model.
"I laugh at those pictures," he said. "My family laughs at those pictures. Look at the faces I'm making in them. I have no problem with gay men looking at them. Like [my Drop Dead Diva character] Paul says in episode three, 'it's just the human body.'"
Season five of Drop Dead Diva premieres on Lifetime Sunday, June 23, at 9pmET.