14 celebrity coming out stories which shocked the world
Gay Star News takes a look at 14 men and women who have inspired thousands to be honest about their sexuality
11 October 2012 | By Joe Morgan
When Frank Ocean came out, it inspired thousands of others to do the same. We celebrate him and others for Coming Out Day.
There is real power when a celebrity is honest about their sexuality or gender identity, as it lets thousands of young gay people know they are not alone.
So to celebrate Coming Out Day (11 October), GSN has gathered together the stories of 14 celebrities who shocked the world when they were revealed who they really are.
When Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian in 1997 on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, and later on her sitcom, she didn’t work for three whole years.
But soon after that, she was given a daytime talk show in 2003. With The Ellen DeGeneres Show, she has become one of the most loved personalities on our screens today.
Check out a video of the comic talking with her Oscar-nominated actress and co-star of her coming out episode Laura Dern here:
Before Ricky Martin came out in 2010, he spent 11 years of his life besieged by gay rumors.
The Puerto Rican singer was linked with TV host Rebecca de Alba as well as his ‘Nobody Wants To Be Lonely’ duet partner Christina Aguilera.
In a 2000 interview with British tabloid The Mirror, he said: ‘I don’t think I should have to tell anyone if I am gay or not, or who I’ve slept with or not.’
But in 2010, he finally admitted who he is. In a post on his official website, he said: ‘I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.’
British bisexual Jessie J became open about her sexuality when she broke the USA.
In a radio interview last year, she said: ‘I’ve never denied it. Whoopie doo guys, yes, I’ve dated girls and I’ve dated boys – get over it.’
Despite that, The Sun ‘outed’ her as a lesbian in April 2012. However, she called it a ‘boring, untrue story’.
Chaz Bono, the only child of Sonny and Cher, is one of the most high-profile transgender advocates in the USA.
Outed by the tabloid press in 1995 as a lesbian, Bono spent years writing about gay rights.
Between 2008-2010, he began his transition and saw his celebrity rise and rise which culminated in appearing as a contestant on one of the highest rated American TV shows Dancing On The Stars.
Check out Bono discussing his transition here:
As the first American woman to fly in space, little was known about Sally Ride’s sexuality and personal life for years.
But it was only when she died of pancreatic cancer, in July this year, her obituary revealed she had been in a 27 year relationship with a woman.
On the day of her death, President Barack Obama described her as a ‘national hero and a powerful role model.’
The first openly gay man to come out and continue competing in professional boxing, Orlando Cruz has made sport history.
In October 2012, the Puerto Rican made an announcement he wanted to be true to himself.
He said: ‘I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career.
‘I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man.’
When you try to think of the one television show most straight women would most identify with, it would likely be Sex and the City.
The comic drama set in New York featured four heterosexual women finding love in the big city, and it starred Cynthia Nixon as tough businesswoman Miranda.
While Miranda met marital difficulties with partner Steve, Cynthia Nixon had found true love with a woman. Nixon and her partner activist Christine Marinoni married in May 2012.
Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas isn’t exactly the stereotype of a gay guy, considering he is a star of one of the most macho, tough sports in the world.
But when he came out in 2010, he was the first openly gay athlete on any major sports team in the world.
Thomas says: ‘If sportspeople come out and share such a powerful story, and such a positive message, it changes the world. If someone is openly gay in sport, and being able to continue that sport, it is such a positive message for the world.’
You may not have heard of Chely Wright, but she is one of the USA’s biggest country stars.
For an industry that is renowned to be Republican, and by default, homophobic, Wright has been able to forge out a successful career.
In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, she said when the TV host came out it inspired her but also terrified her.
‘I was watching it with my sister and my father who did not know I was gay.The minute you came out, my father reached for the remote control and flipped the TV off and said it was disgusting.
‘It sent me into a spiral. I made that promise again to never tell anyone in my family, or the record-buying public, that I was gay.’
But as years past, and they grew further apart, she had no choice to tell her father.
He got up on stage the next night at one of Wright’s gigs and said: ‘I’m so glad you guys came out to see my daughter, I’m really proud of her. Now kid, get back to singing.’
Check out the interview here:
Matt Bomer has played a male stripper, a detective, and is now being lined up to play female fantasy Christian in the film adaption of Fifty Shades of Grey.
And he is gay. After he came out in February 2012, he said: ‘I never really endeavored to hide anything.
‘But there were times I chose not to relegate my history to the back page of a magazine, which to me is sort of akin to putting your biography on a bathroom wall.’
One of the most successful pop stars today, openly bisexual Lady Gaga is one of the most famous gay rights advocates.
While she is openly Christian, she has risked backlash by slamming the Pope for his anti-gay views.
She said: ‘What the Pope thinks of being gay does not matter. It doesn’t matter to the world. It matters to the people who like the Pope and follow the Pope.’
Check out Gaga performing John Lennon’s Imagine at a Human Rights benefit here:
When The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons came out, it wasn’t by announcing it on the cover of a magazine.
He came out publicly in a New York Times profile interview when he was starring in Broadway in the play Harvey.
The article simply said: ‘Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship.’
Canadian born KD Lang is one of the most successful artists of all time.
Winning multiple Grammy awards, Lang came out in an interview with The Advocate in 1992.
In an interview with Canadian LGBT news website Xtra!, she said: ‘To celebrate your own uniqueness is the biggest celebration of confidence.
‘It’s a testimony to your parents and to yourself to live your life as who you are.’
‘Coming out as a lesbian was important,’ she said. ‘When you’re holding in things or not being honest, all these things affect your voice. My voice is definitely designated to who I am as a person.’
Ever since R&B star Fran Ocean came out, he has seen his career skyrocket to success.
In July, the Odd Future member published what was meant to be the notes for his album Channel Orange.
He describes meeting a man when he was 19 years old and falling in love, for real, for the first time.
Ocean says when he looked back on his previous girlfriends and the love songs he used to play for them, the lyrics were ‘written in a language’ he did not yet speak.
When it was released, Channel Orange reached the top of the US Billboard R&B Chart. It just shows that honesty really is the best policy.