NEW YORK – T.R. Knight says he's evolved as a person since announcing last October that he's gay.
"I feel I've learned so much this past year, so I'm grateful for that -- so, yeah, that changes you," the 34-year-old actor said Thursday on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
Knight, who plays Dr. George O'Malley on ABC's hit medical drama, "Grey's Anatomy," announced that he's gay after it surfaced that Isaiah Washington had used an anti-gay slur against him during an on-set clash with a co-star.
Washington, 44, was booted from his role as a surgeon on the show after he used an anti-gay epithet backstage at the Golden Globe Awards in January while denying he'd used it previously on the set against Knight.
He publicly apologized and tried to make amends by meeting with gay-rights organizations and filming a public-service announcement calling for tolerance.
Knight said telling the world you're gay isn't an easy thing to do.
"Everyone has their own path," he said. "You just have to respect that. I know a lot of people who make statements but you have to do it when it's right for you."
Knight joked that he's dating someone very close to "Grey's Anatomy" co-star Katherine Heigl.
"Recently Kate and her fiance, Josh Kelley, and me and her mom went out to dinner ... and it was reported that it was with me and my new boyfriend. But that was really her mom," he told DeGeneres.
"So I guess I'm dating Katherine's mom right now," he quipped.