Many celebrities who have shared the details of their sexual orientation have paved the way for others to embrace their true selves. While in the past, some celebs have kept their personal lives under wraps and stayed closeted for fear that their truth would impact their professional career, now more than ever, famous faces are coming out as gay or bisexual and creating an environment of love and understanding.
Radar has rounded up some of these famous faces who have come out as gay or bisexual and their pride is all around inspiring. Each celebrity has a unique coming out story, whether it was a big public announcement, like Ellen DeGeneres, or a more subtle confirmation, such as Bella Thorne, a painful reaction from family members, as Matt Bomer found, or a liberating moment, such as what Ellen Page experienced.
One of the most famous coming out moments came courtesy of comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who screamed "Yep, I’m Gay" from the cover of Time magazine in 1997 and paved the way for many celebrities to come.
CNN News anchor Anderson Cooper wrote in a 2012 email to a reporter at The Daily Beast: "I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something — something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true... The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud."
Former boyband singer Lance Bass, of NSYNC fame, came out in 2006, telling People magazine at the time: "The thing is, I’m not ashamed — that’s the one thing I want to say. I don’t think it’s wrong, I’m not devastated going through this. I’m more liberated and happy than I’ve been my whole life. I’m just happy."
Neil Patrick Harris
In a 2006 interview with People magazine, Neil Patrick Harris proudly came out, saying: "I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love."
Actor Brandon Flynn, known for his role on 13 Reasons Why, came out in 2017 in an Instagram post in response to a ‘Vote No’ message in the sky. He explained, in part: "We’ve fought, we’ve come out bravely even in our fear, and you wrote a message in the sky because you’re scared."
Actress Jodie Foster publicly addressed her sexual orientation during her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globe Awards in 2013, noting that she had her "coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age," but that she had "a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never really been able to air in public."
Latin pop singer/heartthrob Ricky Martin shared the news that he was gay on his website in 2010, saying: "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am. These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within, and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn't even know existed."
Portia de Rossi
Actress Portia de Rossi spoke openly about being gay during two 2005 interviews and explained in a 2013 Inside the Actors Studio interview that about a month after dating Ellen DeGeneres she was "nervous" about meeting up with DeGeneres after the Golden Globe Awards. She explained: "That was the first time that we actually stepped out together as a couple, but for me, it was the first time that I’d stepped out as a gay woman, really."
Actress Kristen Stewart openly dated women and came out in 2015, but announced it publicly when she hosted Saturday Night Live, saying, “I’m so gay, dude.” She later explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that it “felt really cool” to just be “simple and straightforward” about it.
Actress Ellen Page spoke openly at the 2014 Human Rights Campaign’s Time to Thrive conference, explaining in a speech: "I’m here today because I am gay, and because maybe I can make a difference, to help others have an easier and more hopeful time... I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out."
Actress Raven-Symone came out in 2013, when she tweeted: "I can finally get married! Yay government! So proud of you.” She further clarified in a statement: “I was excited to hear today that more states legalized gay marriage. I, however am not currently getting married, but it is great to know I can now, should I wish to."
Singer Melissa Etheridge came out at the Triangle Ball in 1993, explaining: “I think one of the many fears people have about homosexuality is around children. I think that the more gay parents raise good, strong, compassionate people, the better the world will be."
A New York Times article confirmed Jim Parsons was gay in May 2012, but The Big Bang Theory actor told E! News in 2013 that his relationship was just “regular life,” noting: "I’ve never considered my relationship with Todd Spiewak to be an act of activism. Rather simply, it’s an act of love, coffee in the morning, going to work, washing the clothes, taking the dogs out — a regular life, boring love."
Actor Jussie Smollett, known for his role on the TV series Empire, told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in a 2015 interview: “There’s never been a closet. That I’ve been in. I don’t own a closet, I got a dresser, but I don’t have a closet, but I have a home and that is my responsibility to protect that home... when I say that I don’t talk about my personal life, I’m saying that. But it is in no way to hide or deny who God made me.”
When actor Matt Bomer wrote a letter coming out to his parents, the news wasn’t well received, as he explained: "There was radio silence from my parents for a long, long time, at least six months... I would say within a matter of years we started to figure it out. It was a struggle.”
Actress Bella Thorne came out as bisexual in 2016 when she posted a Snapchat video of her kissing a woman. She later confirmed her sexuality when asked by a fan on Twitter and, upon getting tweets of support, wrote: "Aww thank you for all the accepting tweets from everyone. I love you guys #pride."
Actor Sean Hayes, best known for playing Jack on the TV show Will & Grace, publicly came out in 2010, but later said he regretted waiting so long to do so. When asked why he keeps his private life under wraps, he told The Advocate: "I feel like I’ve contributed monumentally to the success of the gay movement in America, and if anyone wants to argue that, I’m open to it."
Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts came out in 2013 when she wrote on Facebook: "At this moment I am at peace and filled with joy and gratitude. I am grateful to God, my doctors and nurses for my restored good health... I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.”
Actress Sarah Paulson was outed accidentally in 2005 when she kissed her partner at the time, actress Cherry Jones, when she won a Tony Award. Paulson told NoTofu magazine: “She won a Tony Award, I kissed her, and all of a sudden I was outed. I didn’t really think about it in that way at the time — I was just doing what one would do when a person they love has just won a big fat acting prize. What am I gonna do, pat her on the back and say 'good job, dude?' It didn’t occur to me to do anything but what I did.”
Actress Anna Paquin came out as bisexual in 2010 and later noted in a 2012 interview with Red magazine: "It’s not like I had an 'Oh my God' moment, it’s just part of who I am." She also addressed those who are critical about her marriage to actor Stephen Moyer, saying: “Some people find it odd that you can identify with a sexual orientation that is not straight and yet be married to someone of the opposite sex... I’m like, okay, if that’s how you feel, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m just living my life."
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