For some, coming out is a very personal affair, but some people prefer to make it more of a spectacle; to each their own. Just like every person is different, every person’s coming out story is different. Of course, of the more flamboyant coming out stories, celebrities usually take the cake. There are other coming out stories in Hollywood that helped make change for the LGBTQ youth, making the world a safer place with more representation in the mainstream.
Surely, it’s not always easy to come out to friends and family but for those in the public eye have to think about coming out to the entire world. Coming out as a celebrity adds an entirely new aspect to the revealing process. At one time coming out might mark the end of an acting or music career, but as more celebrities find the courage to come out that, has ceased to be the case.
The point is that no matter what way a celebrity decided to come out of the closet, they are helping to establish more normalcy in the world for the LGBTQ community. Something that is common with every celebrity coming out story is that celebs felt happier, healthier and more themselves after being honest about their lives.
15. Caitlyn Jenner
Before transitioning in April 2015, Caitlyn Jenner was known as Bruce an Olympic gold medal winning decathlete and father of six children from three marriages. Cait is most commonly known for being featured on popular reality TV show Keeping Up With the Kardashians starring Jenner’s now ex-wife Kris Kardashian and his two daughters with her, Kendall & Kylie Jenner, along with Kris’s children from a previous marriage Kim, Rob, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian. Caitlyn Jenner came out as a transgender woman which, aside from Alexis Arquette, is the first time that a public figure has transitioned from male to female while in the public eye.
14. Reid Ewing
This American actor is best known as Dylan from the hit ABC sitcom Modern Family; his recurring role revolves around being Haley’s on again-off again boyfriend. While working on Modern Family, Ewing has had some small roles in TV shows as well as web series. The young man started his acting career in South Florida theatre while studying at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida. Before moving to Los Angeles and grabbing his awesome role in Modern Family, Ewing also studied at the School for Film in New York. The young man isn’t just an actor, he can play banjo, guitar and piano.
Aside from his work in the entertainment industry, Reid Ewing has made headlines for his honesty about his life and struggles. It was in 2015 when Ewing came out as a sufferer of body dysmorphic disorder which caused him to get several surgeries. The awesome way that Ewing came out was understated, when a fan tweeted asking if a previous tweet was him coming out of the closet he responded with a nonchalant “was I ever in?”
13. Jason Collins
At the end of the 2012-13 season, Jason Collins came out publicly as gay on the cover of Sports Illustrated in a piece written by Collins himself. The coming out letter was featured on the website before being printed in the magazine and sent its publication shockwaves through what at the time was a completely straight NBA. Collins even stated that his chosen number ‘98’ was meant to mark the very public and heartbreaking death of young gay man Matthew Sheppard. He regarded it as a statement to himself, his family and his friends about who he truly was. For his last season before retirement, Collins signed with the Brooklyn Nets and soon his jersey sold out in stores. After coming out the athlete has remained private about his personal life but has made strides for the LGBTQ community.
12. Daniel Franzese
Franzese is an openly gay actor that is most well known for his characters who also happened to be openly gay in Mean Girls and the HBO original series Looking. Although his first breakout character was as an the ultimate gay friend to Janis named Damian, Franzese didn’t come out until 2014. It was April 22, 2014 when Daniel Franzese came out to his character Damian ten years after the film originally came out. Franzese wrote a heartfelt and detailed description of what it is like to be a gay actor in Hollywood. The letter is beautiful and honest and open, just as inspiring as Damian was in the 2004 hit comedy. Franzese says that for years he was denied straight roles because of his ability to play flamboyant and gay, he also says that he’s turned down an equal number of roles because it seemed that they were making fun of the gay characters and stereotyping them. His honest letter has helped pave a solid road for the young gay community to feel comfortable being themselves.
11. Tom Daley
British diver Tom Daley was a world champion at the young age of 15 and he started diving when he was just seven years old at the Plymouth Diving Club. Most recently he won a Bronze medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the synchronized 10m platform with partner Daniel Goodfellow. Daley also competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics for Great Britain as the youngest competitor to take part in many different aspects of the event. He has been competing for a long time and for all of the time has maintained composure in the public eye.
He eloquently came out via YouTube video in December of 2013 where he stated that he’d been in a relationship with man since earlier that year. He lives still with his partner American film screenwriter Dustin Lance Black though he has stated that he prefers not to be labelled, that he still has some sexual interest in women as well as men.
10. Michael Angelakos
Singer, songwriter and producer in hit band Passion Pit came out publicly in a magazine interview in November 9, 2015. This revelation was following Angelakos’ brief marriage to Kristy Mucci in early 2013 that ended in divorce in August 2015. Passion Pit has always been known to create happy, uplifting music about depressing, dark topics; a great juxtaposition to the life of Angelakos. The star has been public about his once private fight with bipolar disorder that he came out about after cancelling his tour during the release of his second album in 2012.
The very first Passion Pit album was a set of songs recorded for his then girlfriend in his dorm room at the time and he credits much of his ability to deal with his mental health to his ex-wife Kristy Mucci. For this reason we’re in awe of the grace with which Angelakos was able to come out and deal with his divorce.
9. Holland Taylor
Since the early 1980’s, the playwright, film, stage and television actress has been a face that would be recognized by most American households. Her long, well awarded career began on the stage in both Broadway and off-Broadway productions. In late November of 2015, Taylor was being asked some questions about marriage on a radio interview with WNYC. It was in this interview, prompted by these questions, that Taylor revealed most of her former relationships had been with women. She also revealed that her current partner was much younger than she was, this woman turns out to be Sarah Paulson. Paulson is most well known for her work on American Horror Story and has been nominated for a couple of Emmy’s for her acting work. Taylor has been nominated for some Emmy’s herself as well as a Tony award, she is currently not acting in anything although she is currently still with actress Sarah Paulson.
8. Jim Parsons
His role as Sheldon Cooper on hit CBS series The Big Bang Theory was the breakout role back when the show started in 2006. Before that he mostly acted on the stage making his debut in The Normal Heart on Broadway starring as Tommy Boatwright. He received a Drama Desk Award for his work and later reprised his role in the movie for which he received an Emmy Award. In his personal life, Jim Parsons splits time between his home in Los Angeles, CA and Gramercy Park in New York City. The way that he came out of the closet is fantastic because he was never actually in the closet to begin with, but he didn’t display it on the cover of magazines either. When he was asked a question by Patrick Healy about how a role was pivotal for him based on his homosexuality in an interview he was actually relieved that it was no longer a question. Parsons has been in a committed relationship for the last decade, the actor describes their love as “an act of love, coffee in the morning, going to work, washing the clothes, taking the dogs out – a regular, boring life.” Just like the rest of us.
7. Rosie O’Donnell
The talk show host and well known actress famously came out in 2000 but says that she tried to come out ten years earlier. In 1992, Rosie O’Donnell was coming off of major stardom after her role in A League of Their Own and as a result was being interviewed by Cosmopolitan magazine. The reporter just came out and asked the actress if she was a lesbian and she responded surely and simply, “yes.” She spoke about this experience in a 2014 interview with Marlo Thomas on her web series Mondays With Marlo. Rosie said that Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown cut O’Donnell’s admission out of the story but the actress isn’t upset about it. She admits that times were really different back then, that Brown was protecting her career. When the actress came out publicly in 2002, it was on her own terms at the end of her successful talk show Rosie.
6. Portia de Rossi
Before growing into herself, Portia de Rossi married documentary film-maker Mel Metcalfe because she was terrified that being discovered as a lesbian would ruin her career in Hollywood. The couple divorced in 1999 because de Rossi never felt right about the partnership. A short time later she coupled up with Ringo Starr’s step-daughter Francesca Gregorini but remained in the closet to those on the Ally McBeal set. Unfortunately the tabloids captured pictures of the actress with her director girlfriend and published them. Despite the photos Portia refused to address her sexual orientation in any public arena. After she met Ellen DeGeneres backstage at an awards show, the actress dumped Gregorini and the pair soon became inseparable, and de Rossi contemplated stepping out in public. At the end of 2004 de Rossi’s show Arrested Development was nominated for an Emmy and the couple stepped onto the red carpet together, this is the moment that de Rossi cites as really coming out. The next year she opened up about her sexuality in The Advocate and Details magazine.
5. Jodie Foster
The film and television actress has often been referred to as one of the best actresses of her generation. She is one of the few child actors that found fame at a young age and maintained (if not bettered) their status in the celebrity world. Her first film was Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and she won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a teen prostitute opposite Robert De Niro. One of the reasons that she overcame the downward spiral that many child celebrities fall into is that she took a break and attending university at Yale, a prestigious Ivy. In 2013, Foster had the opportunity to accept the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes. She took the chance and came out as a lesbian to her peers in a witty, humorous speech that was well received by all. The actress is now married with two children, the actress is loving her out lifestyle.
4. Matt Bomer
The American actor has been working since 2001 but is most modernly known from his work on hit television series’ White Collar and American Horror Story. Matt Bomer has known that he was gay since he was a teenager but he wasn’t fully out in Hollywood until 2012. That year Bomer was given the New Generation Arts and Activism Award at the Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards for his work fighting HIV/AIDS. Given such a visible award inspired Bomer to be transparent himself. The dreamy actor made sure to thank his husband of five years Simon Hall and their three children. After coming out to the general public, Bomer spoke at a GLSEN event and inspired young LGBTQ people to be their authentic selves despite pressure in high school. Aside from all of these exciting events in 2012, Bomer was given an Inspiration Award at the GLSEN awards.
3. Ellen Page
Born in Canada, Ellen Page got her start on popular Canadian television shows like Trailer Park Boys. The actress got her big break in America in Jason Reitman’s hilarious film Juno before going on to star in blockbusters like Inception and X:Men Days of Future Past. She was invited to speak at the Time to Thrive event held at Bally’s Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, an event meant to promote the welfare of LGBTQ youth. The actress came out in her speech, stating that she felt a social responsibility and personal obligation to be honest about being gay. In her eloquent speech, Page cited so many important topics like the perpetuation of unrealistic idolatry in pop culture and daily gender stereotyping. Her show of courage was a noble attempt to pave the way for LGBTQ youth to feel comfortable being themselves. Page is currently in a relationship with surfer and artist Samantha Thomas.
2. Wentworth Miller
In one of the most brave and clearly heartfelt responses to an invitation to the St. Petersburg International Film Festival in Russia, Wentworth Miller politely declined with an open letter to the festival director posted to the GLAAD website. He came out saying that he couldn’t visit the country that he once loved to visit and can claim in some of his lineage. In the letter he passionately writes “The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.” Now 42, the actor reminisces on his 20’s when only his close friends knew he was gay to his 30’s where his friends, family and close inner circle knew about him being gay. He feels much more himself being able to be out to all of his fans and interviewees.
1. Ellen DeGeneres
The coming out story of Ellen Degeneres is absolutely fantastic because not only did she use her coming out to be honest about the world, her sitcom character came out right along side her in a monumental television event. Before her breakout television show Ellen, the comedienne was noticed for her hilarity in the comedy scene. Degeneres came out in 1997 to Oprah Winfrey on her talk show and then her character on Ellen came out to Winfrey playing a therapist. The show went on to become a platform for many LGBTQ issues far before they were a mainstream topics. The actress and comedienne was one of the very first to come out in Hollywood and led the way for so many actresses and actors to follow her. Since 2004 she has been in a committed relationship with Portia de Rossi and the pair are now married after DeGeneres proposed three years into their partnership.