13 celebrities who have come out later in life
It has become easier and easier for public figures to own their sexuality over the past few years.
Disney star, Rowan Blanchard came out as queer in January this year at just 14-years-old, yet many older celebrities have cited they felt their sexuality would hinder their opportunities for roles in the past. Here’s a look at some who have decided to come out later in life.
1. Sara Ramirez
The former Grey’s Anatomy star came out earlier this year after nearly a decade of playing a bisexual character on the hit show.
“So many of our youth experiencing homelessness are youth whose lives touch on many intersections – whether they be gender identity, gender expression, race, class, sexual orientation, religion, citizenship status,” the 41-year-old said in a speech at the True Colours Fund’s 40 to None Summit in October.
“And because of the intersections that exist in my own life: Woman, multi-racial woman, woman of colour, queer, bisexual, Mexican-Irish-American, Immigrant, and raised by families heavily routes in Catholicism on both my Mexican and Irish sides, I am deeply invested in projects that allow our youth’s voices to be heard, and that support our youth in owning their complex narratives so that we can show up for them in the ways they need us to.”
2. Sir Ian McKellen
“A law was being passed I didn’t approve of which disadvantaged gay people, and that’s when I came out,” McKellen told Charlie Rose last year. “And it was just the right time for me, because, 49, I was confident as an actor, as a person. And I could organise a sentence and make a case and feel passionate about it.”
“There was a part for me to play within the gay rights movement in the UK and I loved it, I relished it.”
3. Lily Tomlin
“My mother would have died. Literally. If she’d lived to see me come out,” Tomlin said in December last year. “Bless her heart, she was Southern, basically fundamentalist, but she was very witty and sweet and kind and she adored Jane. She died 10 years ago. She was 91. So that was always kind of a dilemma for me.”
The 77-year-old came out as gay, and married Jane Wagner, with who she often worked, back in 2013.
4. Cynthia Nixon
Sex And The City star, Nixon made headlines in 2004 when it was revealed the then 38-year-old was dating Christine Marinoni.
“I identify as gay as a political stance. If anybody, prior to my meeting and falling in love with Christine, had asked me about what I think about sexuality, I would have said I think we’re all bisexual,” Nixon told The Advocate in 2010.
“But I had that point of view without ever having felt attracted to a woman. I had never met a woman I was attracted to [before Christine]. And maybe if I’d met her when I was 20, I would have fallen in love and only dated women.”
5. Anderson Cooper
The CNN anchor came out in an email to a political blogger in 2012. The then 45-year-old said, “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.”
6. Jodie Foster
Foster kept mum about her sexuality until her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes in 2013.
“I’m 50! I’m 50!” Foster began.
“I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met. But now I’m told, apparently, that every celebrity is expected to honour the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show.”
7. Ricky Martin
Martin had long faced speculation about his sexuality before he came out as gay at 38 in 2010.
“I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am,” Martin wrote on his website at the time.
8. Wanda Sykes
“I don’t really talk about my sexual orientation,” Sykes, then 44, said at a gay rights rally in Las Vegas in 2008. “I didn’t feel like I had to. I was just living my life, not necessarily in the closet, but I was living my life.”
“Everybody that knows me personally, they know I’m gay. But that’s the way people should be able to live their lives.”
9. Ellen Degeneres
Degeneres famously came out on Oprah in 1997 when she was 38. The character she played in her television show The Ellen Show came out to her therapist (played by Winfrey) in April that year.
“I didn’t think I was going to come out, period,” Degeneres told Oprah in 2015. “I didn’t think I’d be coming out on a show, ever.”
“It was scary and crazy and what came out of listening to what I had been saying to myself was, ‘Would I still be famous, would they still love me if they knew I was gay?’ And my fear was that no, no they wouldn’t, and then it made me feel ashamed that I was hiding something. It made me feel ashamed that I couldn’t feel honest and really be who I am, and I just didn’t want to pretend to be somebody else anymore so that people would like me.”
10. George Takei
The Star Trek star came out in 2005 when he was 68.
“The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay,” he said at the time. “The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young.”
11. Holland Taylor
The 73-year-old Two And A Half Men star spoke of her sexuality for the first time last year.
“I haven’t come out because I am out, I live out,” Taylor said. “I’m finally wised up to the fact that I haven’t got that much longer and I would like to have a more fulsome experience of relationships in life than I have.”
12. Jane Lynch
“I didn’t have a coming out moment,” Lynch, 56, told The Huffington Post earlier this year. The Glee star only rose to prominence after her appearance on the hit show, and was always open about her sexuality.
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“I have to give kudos to people like Melissa Etheridge and K.D Lang and Ellen Degeneres and Rosie O’Donnell, all of those people who came before and at the height of their career, when they had a lot to lose, stood up and said this is who I am.”
13. Rosie O’Donnell
Although O’Donnell officially came out in 2002, she recently revealed she came out in an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine a decade earlier, in 1992, but the editor at the time, Helen Gurley Brown decided not to run it.
“She was protecting me,” O’Donnell said. “At that time it would have been a huge issue. I think it’s changed a lot.”