Jussie Smollett came out as gay during his interview on ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show.’ The ‘Empire’ star made it quite clear in saying there had never been a closet for him.

Jussie Smollett

Photo: Jussie Smollett
Credit: PR Photos

The 31-year-old actor and singer Jussie Smollett’s sexuality had been rumored and speculated upon as he portrays an openly gay character, singer-songwriter Jamal Lyons, on the hugely popular musical drama on Fox, and faces the challenge of coping with a homophobic father (portrayed by Terrence Howard).

He spoke candidly with Ellen DeGeneres, saying, “There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in. I don’t own a closet, I got a dresser, but I don’t have a closet, but I have a home and that is my responsibility to protect that home.”

As Ellen DeGeneres observed that the actor was “never pretending to be anything that you aren’t,” he quickly chimed in and elaborated emphatically. He said, “Ever, ever. So let’s not read into it the wrong way when I say that I don’t talk about my personal life.”

He added, “But it is in no way to hide or deny who God made me. My mama knows. My mama likes me a lot.”

He went on to say, “And, yes, I take her to the Sound of Music sing-along every single year. So, any questions? But honestly, we’re human and we love and we do all that good stuff. So I’m honored for this opportunity and I’m honored to be here with you.”

Ellen DeGeneres has in the past offered a safe haven for those who are ready to go public about their sexuality. Her eponymous daytime talk show Ellen Page’s first stop after courageously coming out in a speech at the Human Rights Campaign conference

Ellen DeGeneres, of course, was the courageous one in 1997 who risked her career in coming out, and indeed did face some setbacks. Ah, but times have changed since then and we have witnessed people coming out now to applause, admiration and, in some instances, phone calls from President Barack Obama.

Now as Jussie Smollett comes out as gay, he is yet another public figure setting a positive example for impressionable teens — or adults for that matter — who may be silently struggling with coming to grips with their sexual orientation.

The replay of Jussie Smollett’s interview is below.