Empire star Jussie Smollett comes out: ‘There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in’
Empire star Jussie Smollet has opened up about his sexuality on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show.
The 31-year-old actor plays Jamal Lyon, the gay son of a hip-hop artist on the Fox drama series Empire.
However, despite playing a gay character on screen, Smollet has never discussed his own sexuality until now.
After appearing on Ellen, he took a moment to film a heart-to-heart with the talk show host.
He told her: “It was very, very important to me, as my first performance and talk show, that it was with you.
“You’ve been such an inspiration to so many, but also to me. What you’ve done in the LGBT community is very much, in my opinion, kind of like what Michael Jackson did in the black community — just that you are who you are. He was just Michael and you’re just Ellen.
“It was really important to make sure that it got across that there is no closet. There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in. I don’t own a closet.
“I have a home and that is my responsibility, to protect that home. So that’s why I choose not to talk about my personal life. But there is without a doubt no closet that I’ve ever been in.
“When I say that I don’t talk about my personal life, it is in no way to hide or deny who God made me.
“My mama knows. My mama likes me a lot. I take her to the Sound of Music sing-along every single year.
He added: “I told Ellen. Who else do I need to tell?”
Watch the clip below: