These days, it seems that more and more celebrities (as well as people in the general public) are coming out and fully embracing their sexual orientation. With people identifying as pansexual, asexual, aromantic, bisexual, gay, lesbian, and several other orientations, it is obvious that perceptions and mindsets are changing and our society is becoming more inclusive, little by little. We have shows like Orange is the New Black and movies like Brokeback Mountain that show us lesbian and gay couples, and even professional athletes are being more welcomed into their sports. While some celebs very gracefully come out, there are others who are either forced to come out or are the subject of rumors for years on end. Here is our list of 15 Worst Ways Celebs Came Out of the Closet.
While some celebs would rather be splayed out on a magazine cover to declare their sexuality, others are much more low-key and discrete. But there are times when the news outlets, media and paparazzi decide to create their own news stories about celebrities, even if the stories aren’t true! The good news in all of this is that celebrities are becoming much more comfortable with who they are, and we have stars like Angelina Jolie and Miley Cyrus who identify as something other than a straight woman. Things are definitely changing, but there will always be people who want to discriminate or throw hate at people who break the status quo (we are looking at you, Isaiah Washington!)
Regardless of how society views the LGBTQ community, here are 15 celebrities that definitely wish they had been able to come out another way.
15 George Michael
When singer George Michael was 19 years old, he told just a few friends as well as his siblings that he identified as bisexual. In 1999, he told editor in chief of The Advocate that he was struggling with his sexuality and that he was in love with a man. The admission helped to confirm suspicions from an incident that happened a year earlier when the singer was pretty much outed by a police officer who had an incident with him in a public bathroom. George Michael was arrested under the charge of engaging in a lewd act, which for many, confirmed that he wasn’t straight. It wasn’t until years later that the singer explained his shame at hiding his sexuality. George Michael’s song “Jesus to a Child” is a tribute to a former male lover who passed away from HIV.
14 Michelle Rodriguez
Actress Michelle Rodriguez has had an active romantic life. She dated Vin Diesel, a random Muslim dude, and Olivier Martinez, among others. In 2006, she said that she wasn’t a lesbian, but that she had “experimented” with both men and women. This was after one of her co-stars, Kristanna Loken made a comment that suggested she had dated Rodriguez. In 2007 she was shocked to find herself put on the front cover of a lesbian magazine, Curve, in which she was identified as a bisexual. She never approved of the cover, but once she was featured on it, people accepted that she was bisexual. It wasn’t until the fall of 2013 that she officially came out as bisexual. Stating that as she was getting more mature, she finally began to embrace it. Now she is an advocate for LGBT rights and equality, and she has spoken out about the lack of sexual diversity among character roles in film and TV.
13 Lee Pace
Lee Pace has had some awesome film roles, such as elf king Thranduil in Lord of the Rings and Ronan the Accuser in Guardians of the Galaxy. Working alongside Pace in Lord of the Rings was Ian McKellen. Perhaps it was because McKellen is getting super old that he accidentally yanked Pace out of the closet during an interview. Ian was talking about how gays have made great gains in the acting industry (he is gay as well), and he named Pace in his examples. However, at the time of the interview, Pace was not an out gay man. Oopsie. In fact, Pace is still not out of the closet, and no one is sure if he ever will be. His personal life is shrouded in mystery and suspense, with the actor claiming that he doesn’t care about anyone’s personal life, and they shouldn’t care about his. If his work is any indication, Pace is definitely not straight as he has played flamboyant and trans characters in some of his acting roles.
12 T.R. Knight
T.R. Knight played Dr. George O’Malley on Grey’s Anatomy. The actor was pushed out of the closet in an unruly manner when his co-star on Grey’s, Isaiah Washington, called him a derogatory gay slur in 2007. Washington was reportedly kicked off the show for that incident, but used that term again at the Golden Globes! This was when Knight realized that he had to accept and embrace his sexual identity. He later spoke on Ellen Degeneres’ talk show about it. Gays unite! In the fall of 2013, Knight got to marry his partner, Patrick Leahy. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Knight’s career has been thriving. His latest acting projects include 11.22.63., Hello Again, It’s Only A Play and The Miser. As for Isaiah Washington, he returned to Grey’s Anatomy in 2014 for a cameo appearance in one episode. Needless to say, his career was a whole lot tougher after that fiasco.
Actress Raven-Symone has constantly been surprising us with her offhand comments and indirect affirmations. She repeatedly stated that her sexuality and love life was her personal business. Too bad the paparazzi don’t understand the concept of “personal business.” They spotted Raven moving in with her girlfriend and she was pretty much outed on the spot. Yet it wasn’t until August 2013, when a number of states began making same-sex marriage legal, that Raven took to Twitter and said that she was happy that she was now permitted to get married (even though she wasn’t planning on it any time soon). That was the declaration that we needed. The following year, Raven spoke to none other than Oprah herself, stating that she was dating a wonderful female partner. She also said that she had been bisexual since she was 12 years old, but that she doesn’t identify as gay, lesbian, or even African American.
10 Clay Aiken
Talk show host Kelly Ripa made a joke about Clay Aiken after his American Idol win. Another celeb, Rosie O’Donnell (who happens to be gay,) called the joke “homophobic.” Yet at that time, Clay was not identifying as gay. Oops. Looks like Rosie outed Clay before he was ready, and that didn’t happen until 2008! In August of that year, Aiken took to the Internet to announce that he and his “dear friend” Jaymes had a new baby boy, Parker Foster Aiken. Yet the singer wasn’t publicly identifying as gay at that point. In September 2008, he finally came fully out of the closet via an interview with People magazine. He confirmed what people had suspected since first seeing him on American Idol. In 2009, the Family Equality Council organization honored Aiken, and the following year, the singer joined the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network in an anti-bullying campaign.
9 Neil Patrick Harris
While Neil Patrick Harris was suspected of being gay for a while, he was steadily pushed out of the closet by Perez Hilton. Takes one to know one, we guess. In 2006, NPH made it official by publicly stating that he was a content gay man living a very fortunate life. The following year, he attended the Emmy Awards with his boyfriend, David Burtka, whom he had been dating for three years already. In the summer of 2010, NPH and David announced that they were going to be fathers via surrogate to a set of twins, son Gideon Scott and daughter Harper Grace. The two gay men got engaged following New York’s enactment of the Marriage Equality Act. Apparently the couple had been engaged for five years before making it public. They got married in Italy in 2014 and they live together with their kids in Upper Manhattan. NPH has a fortunate life, indeed!
8 Tim Cook
Tim Cook is the third CEO of Apple, Inc. And thanks to Simon Hobbs, he was outed as a gay man. The CNBC news anchor was stepping over some serious boundaries when he questioned Tim Cook’s sexuality in an interview with Jim Stewart, journalist for The New York Times. While Stewart responded by saying he wouldn’t comment on anyone’s sexuality, the news outlets ran with the story, which forced Tim Cook to come out of the closet. The 55-year-old professional was the very first CEO of a Fortune 500 company to publicly identify as gay. Cook is intensely dedicated to Apple and works around the clock to keep things running smoothly. He reportedly offered to give his liver to Steve Jobs when he was dying of cancer, but Jobs refused. In 2014, due to his LGBT advocacy, Cook was inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor, the highest title for Alabamians.
7 Kerry Rhodes
It’s gotta be hard for a professional athlete to come out. 34-year-old NFL player Kerry Rhodes was photographed by the paparazzi while cuddling close to his assistant, Russell Simpson. Rhodes denied that they were a couple even though Simpson stated that they were. Awkward! Rhodes was criticized for not coming out, especially since the tides are changing and more and more gay athletes are being smoothly accepted into professional sports. Yet Rhodes also had to deal with his supposed gay lover talking about the relationship with the tabloids. Simpson claimed that he was “the wife” of the relationship, and that he did the cooking and cleaning for Rhodes. Simpson even said that Rhodes was sort of like a “dumb jock” and that Simpson had to take care of everything for Rhodes. Ouch! Simpson swore that Rhodes’ teammates knew about their relationships, and that the sex was great. Too much information?
6 Jonathan Knight
Jonathan Knight was the first guy to split from New Kids on the Block (the band eventually got back together for a reunion tour). It that wasn't stressful enough, Knight has a past history with extreme anxiety. The singer was sneakily outed by an ex, who, after the split, said the New Kids on the Block star was gay. Knight then came out online and claimed that he was never hiding his sexuality, so there! Knight also criticized the culture of “coming out” and showing off one’s sexual orientation, stating that “apparently the prerequisite to being a gay public figure is to appear on the cover of a magazine with the caption 'I am gay.'" Knight was unapologetic of not taking the popular route to exposing his sexuality. Since 2008, the singer has been in a relationship with Harley Rodriguez. While they never publicly married, Jonathan’s last name is now Knight-Rodriguez. Hmmm, okay.
5 Portia de Rossi
By now, people know Portia as the cute and more feminine half of the Portia de Rossi - Ellen Degeneres duo. Yet back in the day, Portia was dealing with inner turmoil as she battled her sexual orientation and an eating disorder. The Aussie actress was married to a man for three years in the late 1990s but began dating a woman in 2000. A paparazzo snapped a photo of Portia galavanting around town with her new girlfriend, causing all sorts of stories in the tabloids. Portia decided to come out and then she got to marry Ellen Degeneres, so that’s cool. Portia and Ellen have been together since 2004 and they are one of the most prominent celebrity lesbian relationships. While she and Ellen do not plan on having children, the two of them have some pretty fun adventures together that they happily share on social media.
4 Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin started his singing career at the age of thirteen with boy band Menudo before he broke out as a solo artist. There had always been rumors of Martin’s sexuality, as there was always something a bit flamboyant about the singer. It turned out that he was “Livin’ La Vida Gay” and was outed by his own skincare professional, Ole Henriksen. The beauty guru made a comment about going on a dream vacation with his client, Ricky Martin, offhandedly outing the singer before he was ready. In fact, Martin was thinking about proposing to his girlfriend, Rebecca de Alba, but then in 2008 he became a father via surrogate to twins Matteo and Valentino. Then the public was really confused about what was going on. Ten years after he first refused to comment on his sexual orientation, he came out as gay on his website. Right now, he is wrapping up his One World Tour.
3 Lance Bass
N'SYNC boy band member Lance Bass was suspected of being gay long before he actually came out. His gayness was revealed by none other than Perez Hilton, gaydar extraordinaire. Almost a year after Hilton starting blogging about Bass’ homosexuality, in July of 2006, Bass officially opened up to People magazine about his sexual orientation, which cleared up all of those shots the paparazzi snapped of Bass frequenting gay bars and clubs. About two weeks earlier, a story was published in a New York tabloid about Bass and his boyfriend Reichen Lehmkuhl. The story of Bass’ coming out was so popular that he replaced Johnny Depp on the front cover of that week’s People magazine. Bass stated that he was happy with his identity and that he felt no shame about it. The general public poured love and support on Bass and he is now married to Michael Turchin.
2 Zachary Quinto
He was outed thanks to a low blow from a magazine editor, who shared a Tweet about the actor’s sexuality. Yet Quinto accepted it in stride, and the actor was especially moved after the suicidal death of Jamey Rodemeyer, a teenager who identified as bisexual. In October 2011, Quinto declared that he wouldn’t be able to support the LGBT community without coming out himself and fully embracing his identity. So, he publicly announced that he was a gay man. Even before that, Quinto was very active in LGBT rights and equality, contributing to associated charities and even starring in productions about sexuality and orientation. He is now in a relationship with Miles McMillan, a model and artist. Three years into their relationship, they are now living together in Manhattan, New York. Quinto’s acting career is on fire, as is his love life. Some of his 2016 projects include Star Trek Beyond, Snowden, Aardvark, and Tallulah.
1 Matt Bomer
Actor Matt Bomer is an actor famous for his roles in TV series such as Chuck, Guiding Light and White Collar. He is a celeb with several acting awards and he acted in a Broadway production about Proposition 8, which was created by opponents of same-sex marriage. Proposition 8 became a nationwide dilemma in 2008, when Bomer’s sexuality was still hush-hush. Then photos of Bomer getting serious lip action with another dude were leaked, causing him to come out as gay. The actor married Simon Halls in 2011 and the couple has three sons together, whom were delivered to them via a surrogate. Bomer’s first public declaration that he was gay happened in 2012 during his acceptance speech for the Steve Chase Humanitarian Award. Back in 2010, Bomer had denied his homosexuality, stating that he was happy and fulfilled with his love life and wasn’t going to comment about it, but now we just hope he's happy with his husband.