Darren Criss' ex-girlfriend taught him to ''be a man''.

The 'Glee' heartthrob - plays Blaine Anderson on the hit musical show - says a tough break-up with a former flame during his university years inspired him to grow up.

He said: ''When I was a junior in college, I'd broken up with a girl, but there were those residual months when I was still calling her all the time and wanting to spend time with her. Basically, she sat me down and said, 'Listen, you broke my heart. Accept responsibility for your actions, be a man, and leave me alone, because it's only going to make things worse.' I'll always remember that as a pivotal moment in my life. I hope she's reading this because I love her for it.''

While he may play a gay character on TV, the 26-year-old actor is straight in real life, but he doesn't feel to need to overtly assert his heterosexuality.

He explained to the new issue of US Cosmopolitan magazine: ''I know who I am. I feel bad for guys who have to flex their muscles. But hey, if that's the way to make yourself feel comfortable as a man - as long as it isn't antagonizing anybody - go for it. I'm okay with your getting a Miata to feel like a dude ... just don't be a dick about it.''