Celebrities you didn’t know had a gay, bisexual or trans parent
Sometimes a celebrity coming out as LGBT+ can help fans or members of the community just through visibility, sometimes straight, cis celebrities are allies.
But in other instances, and sometimes the reason they are allies can be because a family member has come out as LGBT+.
From OJ Simpson to Robert De Niro, many celebrities have an LGBT+ parent and have spoken publicly about growing up in a queer household.
1. Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner’s parent Caitlyn came out as transgender on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine back in 2015.
The Olympian revealed that her name is now Caitlyn, and appeared in a shoot by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair magazine, shot at her Malibu home.
Kylie’s sister Kendall is described to have a “strained” relationship with Caitlyn.
“Kendall is loyal to Kris [Jenner] and has very little to do with her dad. The more time that has passed, the more she feels Caitlyn has let her down with the things she has said and with her actions,” a source recently said.
2. Jay Z
Jay Z’s mom, Gloria Carter, came out as gay on her son’s album, 4:44, released in June.
“Mama had four kids, but she’s a lesbian/Had to pretend so long that she’s a thespian… Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate/Society shame and the pain was to much to take,” read some of the lyrics.
Carter said Jay Z cried when she came out, and that she decided to do so due to gossip magazines speculating about her sexual orientation.
3. Jena Malone
The Hunger Games star was raised by her mother Deborah Malone and her partner.
Malone referred to her mother’s partner as her godmother.
“I had two moms, and it was awesome. Double the pleasure! The more love you have as a child, the better,” she said.
Malone and her family lived in 27 different places when she was growing up.
“We were just so poor,” she says. “We’d hop out of apartments, lose jobs, find a cheaper place, get kicked out, live in cars, and live in hotels. It was glorious.”
4. Ana Matronic
The Scissor Sisters star’s father was gay, and died of AIDS-related complications when she was in her teens.
She says her mother told her that she divorced her father because he was gay. Ana told people at the time that he died of cancer due to the stigma around HIV and AIDS.
“Mum said, ‘We can’t get back together, because Dad is gay.’ It wasn’t said in a brutal or shocking way. Although I was young, I knew Dad now felt about men the way that he had once felt about my mother. Basically, I understood this meant they’d never be together – and at six, that sucked,” Matronic said.
5. Robert De Niro
De Niro’s father, Robert De Niro Sr, separated from the actor’s mother in 1946.
He later battled with depression while coming to terms with being gay.
The Raging Bull actor has since opened up saying he wished they had “spoken about [his father’s sexual orientation] a lot more.”
De Niro Sr spent his final years in poverty in Paris before his death in 1993.
6. Jodie Foster
Foster’s mother Evelyn was a lesbian.
Her partner helped to raise Jodie and was known as her “aunt”.
Jodie Foster came out as gay publically in a speech at the 2013 Golden Globe Awards.
She said: “So while I’m here being all confessional, I just have a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never really been able to air in public. A declaration that I’m a little nervous about, but maybe not quite as nervous as my publicist right now, huh, Jennifer?
“But I’m just gonna put it out there, loud and proud, right? So I’m gonna need your support on this…I am single. Yes, I am. I am single.”
She adds: “No, I’m kidding, but I’m not really kidding, but I’m kind of kidding. Thank you for the enthusiasm, can I get a wolf whistle or something?”
7. Judy Garland
Garland’s father Frank Gumm was known to date men.
Gumm relocated their family to California after he was involved in a sex scandal with a male usher at his theatre.
Rumours followed the family of Gumm’s indiscretions.
Garland’s father was later diagnosed with meningitis and passed away while she made her radio debut.
8. Liza Minnelli
Minnelli’s father Vincente Minnelli was rumoured to be bisexual and reports say he was out in New York City.
But he remained in the closet in Hollywood.
Biographer Emmanuel Levy said: “He was openly gay in New York – we were able to document names of companions and stories from Dorothy Parker. But when he came to Hollywood, I think he made the decision to repress that part of himself or to become bisexual.”
Another biographer, Mark Griffin, adds: “Despite the fact that Minnelli was married to Judy Garland and three other women…it was generally assumed that he was a closeted gay man who, due to the societal conditioning of his era, felt compelled to marry and procreate. I was surprised to discover that the people I spoke to about all of this often provided dramatically conflicting anecdotes or opinions. It seems clear to me that on several levels, Minnelli was living in two different worlds.”
9. Amy Adams
Adams’ mother and father divorced when she was 11-years-old. According to reports, her mother then moved in with her female partner.
The Man of Steel actor Adams moved in with her father after the divorce.
Adams left the Mormon church shortly after her parents’ divorce.
She later went to live with family friends as the financial struggle was real.
10. 50 Cent
In an interview with celebrity blogger Perez Hilton back in 2012, the rapper spoke about growing up with a lesbian mother and how he came to understand her sexuality.
The rapper said: “My mom was a lesbian. Yeah, she liked women. My whole childhood was like that.”
He added that it wasn’t always clear to him that his mom was gay, but his grandmother helped him understand the nature of her sexuality.
He said: “It’s two different things too – from a female perspective, when you see two females together, you think, oh, they’re just girlfriends, they’re close. But, with my mom, the male was missing.
“When you’re that small you don’t see things that would indicate there are other things going on. [My] grandmother would say things like ‘That kiss was a little different from all the other kisses you saw’.”
11. Dorothy Dandridge
The film and theatre actor’s mother Ruby, was gay.
She had been in a long-term relationship with a woman called Geneva Williams.
Williams managed the home of Dandridge and the children, helping to train them for Hollywood.
It is reported that Williams was harsh to the children and punished them when they misbehaved.
12. Jennifer Grey
Joel Grey, famed for his portrayal of the Master of Ceremonies in Cabaret, came out as gay in January 2015.
“I feel very happy for my dad that he has come to a point in his life where he feels safe and/or comfortable enough to declare himself in a public way as a gay man,” says Jennifer at the time.
“Mostly because the more people are free to own there true nature, and can hopefully come closer to love and accept themselves as they really are, no matter what age, no matter how long it takes, to finally be free of the lies or half truths, it is freedom.”
“I remember hearing the grown ups, my Mother included, talking derisively about ‘those fairies’ and men being dragged off to jail or even worse – for being homosexual,” Joel recalled after coming out.
“For being who they were.”
13. Natasha Richardson
Natasha Richardson’s dad Tony Richardson, was bisexual.
He died of AIDS-related complications in 1991.
Natasha’s sister Joely Richardson, also an actor, once said she was worried their father had been reduced to a “caricature” of the “bisexual father”.
They split their time between their father and mother, who was famously a Marxist.
Natasha Richardson died of an epidural hematoma in 2009 after a skiing accident.
14. Andy Richter
The Conan star Richter’s parents divorced when he was four.
He has since spoken on his podcast about his father, Laurence Richter, coming out as gay.
Richter sparred with comedian Chelsea Handler who asked him: “Do you float a lot in the ocean?”
“Sure. What, do you sink?” Richter replied. “Might be that cast-iron heart.”
15. Joe Valentine
The Major League Baseball star was raised by his mother Deb Valentine and her partner Doreen Price.
He has often spoken about being raised by same-sex parents.
Valentine says: “It’s no different than having a mother and father. These are the two women who raised me, and they are wonderful people. It’s just not a big deal to me. Why should it be?”
After it became public knowledge that his mother was gay, he said: “I haven’t heard much… I thought it was going to be a little bit bigger deal, but I wasn’t doing it because I wanted it to be a big deal. It was something I tried to do for my parents and for the gay community. They’re a huge part of the population.”
16. Alison Bechdel
Famed cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s father Bruce Allen Bechdel, was gay.
The Fun Home creator has since spoken about being open about her own sexuality as a reaction to her dad hiding his, saying: “In many ways my life, my professional career has been a reaction to my father’s life, his life of secrecy.”
Bechdel came out in 1980 aged 19.
She later said: “I threw myself into the gay community, into this life as a lesbian cartoonist, deciding I was going to be a professional lesbian. In a way, that was all my way of healing myself.”
Of Fun Home, Bechdel said: “I was kind of blown away. I was not at all prepared to hear the music. … It was much more emotional than I had been anticipating.”
17. OJ Simpson
OJ’s father Jimmy Lee Simpson, was a drag queen in San Francisco.
He died of AIDS-related complications in 1986.
Childhood friends of Jimmy Lee opened up about his sexuality after his death.
Calvin Tennyson, a childhood friend of Jimmy Lee said: “When his dad opened the door, he was in a bathrobe, which is not a crime. But then his dad kind of opened the door more, and there was a guy in the back in a bathrobe too. So it was obvious that his dad was gay.”