Before announcing to the public that he is gay, NBA athlete Jason Collins was engaged to be married to his college sweetheart, former WNBA player Carolyn Moos. The two were together for eight years before Jason called off the wedding in 2009, leaving Carolyn heartbroken and confused as to why the relationship ended. The truth wouldn't be revealed to her until years later -- just a few days before Jason publicly announced his homosexuality in Sports Illustrated.
In this clip from his interview with Oprah for "Oprah's Next Chapter," Jason opens up about being engaged to Carolyn while struggling with his sexuality, explaining that he was still working through several different emotional stages that prevented him from accepting the truth about himself.
"At that point, I hadn't reached acceptance in myself yet," Jason tells Oprah in the clip. "Being in the closet... it really is going through the 12 steps of denial and shame and anger and all of that. I hadn't reached acceptance yet."
When Oprah asks Jason if he had intended to try to live a straight life, he says a psychologist may be better equipped to answer that question, but says that he knew he couldn't follow through with the marriage. "It was, deep down, 'Jason, you can't go through with this,'" he remembers thinking. "'You're going to be ruining her life and your life, and leading to a life of unhappiness.' I'm still trying to process it, but ultimately, I [made] the right decision."
Even though Jason believes he did the right thing by calling off the engagement to Carolyn, he still has regrets about how the breakup happened. "I wish I would have told her the complete truth at that time," he admits. "[But] I wasn't there yet."
Related On HuffPost:
Collins, a free agent who played for the Boston Celtics and the Washington Wizards in the National Basketball Association's 2012-2013 season, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/jason-collins-comes-out-gay_n_3178401.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices" target="_blank">became the first male professional athlete in the United States to come out.</a> Collins discussed his sexuality in a Sports Illustrated op-ed in April 2013 and stated: <blockquote>"I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, 'I'm different.' If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."</blockquote>
History was made in October 2012 when active professional featherweight boxer <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/04/orlando-cruz-comes-out-gay_n_1939204.html">Orlando Cruz of Puerto Rico came out</a>. He said in a USA Today article, "I've been fighting for more than 24 years and as I continue my ascendant career, I want to be true to myself. I want to try to be the best role model I can be for kids who might look into boxing as a sport and a professional career." He continued, "I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man."
The 27-year-old U.S. Olympic soccer player spoke frankly about her sexuality in <a href="http://www.out.com/travel-nightlife/london/2012/07/02/fever-pitch" target="_hplink">an interview with <em>Out</em> magazine</a>, saying she is a lesbian and in a committed relationship with a woman. While her statement may seem bold, the 27-year-old Rapinoe told Out's Jerry Portwood that she'd just never been asked directly. "I think they were trying to be respectful and that it's my job to say, 'I'm gay,' she said. "Which I am. For the record: I am gay." Rapinoe, who's been dating her girlfriend -- identified in the magazine only as an Australian soccer player -- for three years, also took time to chat about homophobia in sports and, more specifically, female athletes' perspective on the subject. "I feel like sports in general are still homophobic, in the sense that not a lot of people are out," she said. Still, she added, "In female sports, if you're gay, most likely your team knows it pretty quickly. It's very open and widely supported. For males, it's not that way at all. It's sad."
Although his coming out wasn't ideal when news broke that he was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/28/kwame-harris-boyfriend-domestic-assault-charge_n_2570977.html">facing charges for assaulting a former boyfriend</a>, former San Francisco 49er Kwame Harris <a href="http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Kwame-Harris-Culliver-Is-Spreading-Hate-189113121.html">spoke out against fellow 49er, Chris Culliver</a>, who said he didn't believe gays had a place in the locker room, saying: "It’s surprising that in 2013 Chris Culliver would use his 15 minutes to spread vitriol and hate. I recognize that these are comments that he may come to regret and that he may come to see that gay people are not so different than straight people.”
In 2007, Amaechi -- who played at Penn State and spent five seasons in the NBA with Orlando --<a href="http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=2757105" target="_hplink"> identified himself as a gay man</a> in his book "Man in the Middle." Four years later, Amaechi <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/14/john-amaechi-kobe-bryant_n_849231.html" target="_hplink">criticized Kobe Bryant after the five-time NBA champion used a gay slur</a> during a game. "There's only one contemporary meaning for that," he said. "We have to take it as unacceptable as a white person screaming the N-word at a black person. I can tell you that I've been called a f--got fairly routinely, and yet people seem to hold off on calling me the N-word. We've got to mirror that progress."
Thomas's decision to <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/19/gay-groups-applaud-gareth-thomas" target="_hplink">confirm his sexuality</a> while still an active rugby player was praised by LGBT rights advocates as a brave move. Though others have since followed suit, Thomas hoped people who eventually consider his sexuality as irrelevant. "What I choose to do when I close the door at home has nothing to do with what I have achieved in rugby," he told <em>The Guardian</em>. "I'd love for it, in 10 years' time, not to even be an issue in sport, and for people to say: 'So what?'"
The Prague-born tennis pro, who came out as bisexual in 1981, is credited with having "expanded the dialogue on issues of gender and sexuality in sports,"<a href="http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/features/00016378.html" target="_hplink"> according to ESPN</a>. "Martina was the first legitimate superstar who literally came out while she was a superstar," Donna Lopiano, executive director of the Women's Sports Foundation, said. "She exploded the barrier by putting it on the table. She basically said this part of my life doesn't have anything to do with me as a tennis player. Judge me for who I am."
The Olympic diver, who took home the gold medal in 2008 in the ten meter platform, revealed his sexuality in an <a href="http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/05/23/1211183107597.html" target="_hplink">exclusive interview</a> with <em>The Sydney Morning Herald</em>. Mitcham, then 20 years old, credited partner Lachlan with helping him battle depression and emotional burnout in the years before his Olympic triumph.
Glenn Burke became the first former professional baseball player to come out of the closet when he discussed his sexuality in 1982 in an Inside Sports magazine article and on "The Today Show" with Bryant Gumbel. The athlete was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1976 to play in the outfield. Out to his family and friends, Burke was soon traded to the Oakland A's and rumors about his sexuality began to swirl. His glass closet case wasn't entirely welcomed in the locker room, and he left the A's shortly after his arrival in Oakland. Burke retired from baseball at the age of 27. "Prejudice drove me out of baseball sooner than I should have," Burke said in an interview with the New York Times in 1994. After that, Burke, who became revered in the Castro, played in Gay Softball World Series and may have even invented the high five, passed away from AIDS in May 1995 at the age of 42. See the full story <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/09/lgbt-history-month-glenn-burke_n_1920775.html">here</a>.
<a href="http://www.oddee.com/item_98038.aspx">Balian Buschbaum</a> underwent sexual reassignment surgery in 2008 after retiring from pole vaulting. Buschbaum was Germany's second best female pole vaulter and <a href="http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/bu/yvonne-buschbaum-1.html">competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games</a>. After his operation, <a href="http://malecelebbio.com/2012/03/09/balian-buschbaum/">Buschbaum said</a>, "Courage is the road to freedom. I woke up in complete freedom today. The sky is wide open."
Known as much for his colorful fashion sense as his slick moves on the ice, Weir faced intense media scrutiny over his sexual orientation before<a href="http://www.afterelton.com/people/2011/01/johnny-weir-finally-really-out" target="_hplink"> finally coming out</a> in his recently published memoirs. "With people killing themselves and being scared into the closet, I hope that even just one person can gain strength from my story," Weir said at the time. "A lot of the gays got downright angry about my silence. But pressure is the last thing that would make me want to 'join' a community."
Billie Jean King
Unfortunately, the tennis pro's<a href="http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/lesbiansinsports/p/BillieJeanKing.htm" target="_hplink"> 1981 outing</a> was not her choice; she was forced out when her former female lover sued her for palimony and nearly lost all of her commercial endorsements as a result. But her career was far from over, and in 2000, she became the first open lesbian ever to coach an Olympic team.
Heather Cassils is a Canadian performance artist, body builder and personal trainer now living in Los Angeles. Unlike other artists working in more traditional mediums, Cassils uses her body to investigate issues related to gender, mass consumption and the industrial production of images, among others. Her conceptual pieces, which have been performed in museums and galleries around the world, also highlight transgender or "genderqueer" themes, like in "Cuts: A Traditional Sculpture," for which she spent 23 weeks documenting herself building her body to its maximum capacity by following a strict weightlifting regime, consuming the caloric intake of a 190-male athlete, and taking mild steroids. She also starred in Lady Gaga's "Telephone" video. Earlier this year Cassils <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/09/heather-cassils-creates-v_n_1660244.html">told The Huffington Post</a>: <blockquote>"If you're not going to exist as your biologically-assigned gender or you're not operating [as a transgender person] on one end of the gender spectrum, then you end up in that in between space, inviting that scrutiny... I'm trying to push or create a kind of visual language for my subjectivity -- trying to create visual options. You can tap into people's psyches and have them imagine things that they don't yet have words for. I think that's very powerful. I'm trying to create a slippery language, one -- much like my body -- that doesn't fit."</blockquote>
In 1995, the Olympic diving hero (who <a href="http://www.outsports.com/local/2006/0417louganis.htm" target="_hplink">became the first man</a> in 56 years to win two gold medals in diving when he captured the platform and the springboard events in Los Angeles 11 years earlier) shocked fans when he decided<a href="http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Greg-Louganis-Comes-Out-on-The-Oprah-Show-Video" target="_hplink"> to come out</a> as both gay and HIV-positive on <em>The Oprah Winfrey Show</em>. "People who were close to me -- family and friends -- they knew about my sexuality," he said in 2006. "I just did not discuss my personal life, my sexuality with the media. That was my policy."
Tennis Player Renee Richards
Richards is an ophthalmologist, author, and former professional tennis player. After transitioning in 1975, she <a href="http://www.tennispanorama.com/archives/9472" target="_hplink">was banned from playing in the U.S. Open</a> by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) because only biological women were allowed to participate in the tournament. Richards fought the ban and a 1977 New York Supreme Court decision ruled in her favor. She continued to play until 1981. In the fall 2011, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/27/renee-richards-film_n_854578.html" target="_hplink">a documentary about Richards's life</a>, "Renée," was released.
Three-time MVP Sheryl Swoopes was the first player to be signed to the WNBA when it was created. Not only was she a star on the court she was one of the first high profile athletes to publicly come out.
The Australian hockey champ, who retired this year, came out earlier this week in an emotional YouTube video, <em>The Sydney Morning Herald</em> <a href="http://www.smh.com.au/national/playing-it-straight-20111022-1mdj3.html" target="_hplink">is reporting</a>. "I regret immensely that I wasn't strong enough as a leader, that I didn't step up when I was playing and share this about myself,'' he is quoted as saying in the video.
Chris Tina Bruce
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/24/lgbt-history-month-icon-chris-tina-bruce_n_1932941.html">Chris Tina Bruce</a> became the first transgender bodybuilding contestant to participate in a competition in San Diego in 2011. Bruce doesn't necessarily identify as male or female, rather as someone who sits in the middle of the gender spectrum. As a motivational speaker, fitness trainer and LGBT-rights activist, Bruce works to increase awareness of gender fluidity and was featured on National Geographic Channel's "Taboo: Changing Genders" in September 2012. <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/christinafoxx/6240446760/sizes/z/in/photostream/"><em>Photo Courtesy of Flickr User Chris Bruce. </em></a>
Originally from Quebec, the Canadian hockey champ<a href="http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/othersports/2003817138_goodread02.html" target="_hplink"> decided to stop </a>hiding her sexual orientation while still a freshman at Harvard University. "If they weren't going to accept me on the team," she told <em>The Seattle Times</em>, "I wasn't going to stay."
Formerly of the San Diego Padres, baseball player Billy Bean came out in 1999, five years after he retired. Now, however, he says he has regrets about ending his baseball career after just six seasons. "If I had only told my parents, I probably would have played two or three more years and understood that I could come out a step at a time, not have to do it in front of a microphone," he<a href="http://outsports.com/jocktalkblog/2011/09/27/moment-7-major-leaguer-billy-bean-comes-out-still-regrets-retiring/" target="_hplink"> is quoted by</a> Outsports as saying. "And I was completely misguided. I had no mentor. I think that's where the responsibility comes in for people who have lived that experience, and we take for granted that everybody's adjusted and gets it."
Former NFL player Wade Davis came out in 2012 after leaving the sport. When San Francisco 49er Chris Culliver spewed anti-gay remarks about gay players in the NFL just before taking the stage of Super Bowl XLVII, Davis <a href="http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/02/01/fmr-nfl-player-speaks-out-against-homophobia-in-sports/">spoke up against Culliver and said</a>: "I thought, ‘Wow, this is going to help us have this conversation during the biggest game of the year,’ but then I also thought, ‘Wow, there’s a lot of players who are closeted in the NFL that are going to go deeper into the closet because of these comments.”
The pro-golfer, who won 13 events during her 21 years, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/21/sports/golf/21ROSI.html" target="_hplink">came out in</a> a 2004 <em>New York Times</em> editorial. "You see, my sponsor, Olivia, is one of the world's largest and most respected companies catering to lesbian travelers, and this represents the first time a company like this has sponsored a professional athlete -- a gay professional athlete," Jones wrote. "Inherent in this sponsorship is my coming out. It's a bit of a curiosity, because I've never been in the closet. For more than 25 years, I've been very comfortable with the fact that I'm gay...I have never, until now, felt the need to discuss it in the news media."
The champion rider, who competed in six consecutive Olympics, says he's never had much of a problem with being open about his sexual orientation in the equestrian world. Still, as he he<a href="http://www.outsports.com/olympics/2004/0804robertdover.htm" target="_hplink"> told Outsports</a>, "I did not connect my social life to my work life for many years, and while I never ran away from the issue of my homosexuality, I must admit that I had no real interest in bringing attention to it, especially with the press...what changed everything was a combination of meeting my soul-mate Robert Ross, whom I was so proud to be with that I wanted everyone to know, and the AIDS epidemic which affected so many people dear to me."
The South African-born commissioner of World Team Tennis <a href="http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_445847.html" target="_hplink">has also been</a> the partner of Billie Jean King for more than 20 years. She also credits King with encouraging her to pursue her career. "I had an opportunity to hit tennis balls with Billie Jean King when she was in South Africa when I was 11," <a href="http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/jul/17/17kloss1o1/" target="_hplink">she said</a>. "She encouraged me to pursue my dream, and I did."
Former World No. 1 tennis player, Amelie Mauresmo, was the <a href="http://sports.ca.msn.com/other/photos/gallery.aspx?cp-documentid=25032725&page=8">first openly lesbian on the WTA tour since Martina Navratilova</a>. At only 19, the frenchwoman surged into the 1999 Australian Open finals and with much speculation about her sexuality, Mauresmo also took the opportunity to come out to the national press after she jumped into her girlfriend's arms for making the grand slam final down under. Mauresmo is a <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2006/nov/26/tennis.features1">two-time grand slam singles champion</a>, winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2006. She also holds an Olympic silver medal from the 2004 Athens summer games.
Kye Allums is the <a href="http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2011/10/lgbt-history-month-kye-allums-first-openly-transgender-athlete/" target="_hplink">first openly transgender athlete to play NCAA Division I</a> college basketball. He was a shooting guard on the George Washington University women's basketball team until he decided to no longer play. Allums is now busy speaking about his life around the country.
Esera Tuaolo, former NFL player, came out in 2002 in an interview on HBO's "Real Sports." The 6 foot 3 inch, 300 pound athlete became the <a href="http://www.outsports.com/nfl/20021027eseramain.htm">third former football player to acknowledge his homosexuality</a> after David Kopay and Roy Simmons in 1975 and 1992, respectively.
Also on HuffPost:
Matt Bomer, 2012
The 34-year-old "White Collar" hunk <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/13/matt-bomer-comes-out-gay-thanks-partner_n_1272997.html" target="_hplink">thanked his partner</a> Simon Halls and his three children during Saturday's Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, where he received the New Generation Arts and Activism Award for his work in the fight against HIV/AIDS. "I'd really especially like to thank my beautiful family: Simon, Kit, Walker, Henry," he told the crowd. "Thank you for teaching me what unconditional love is. You will always be my proudest accomplishment."
Kelly McGillis, 2009
Kelly McGillis, known as who starred opposite Tom Cruise in "Top Gun," <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1175410/Im-lesbian-declares-Top-Gun-siren-Kelly-McGillis.html">revealed she's gay</a> on lesbian website SheWired.com. McGillis, who was married twice to men and has two daughters, said, "It's a part of being true to yourself. That's been a challenge for me personally."
Jim Parsons, 2012
<em>New York Times </em>scribe Patrick Healy confirmed "The Big Bang Theory" star's sexuality<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/27/theater/jim-parsons-prepares-for-his-lead-role-in-harvey.html?_r=1" target="_hplink"> as part of a profile</a>. The revelation came late in the article, when Healy describes the 39-year-old actor's role in the 2011 revival of Larry Kramer's HIV/AIDS crisis drama, "The Normal Heart." Wrote Healy: '"The Normal Heart" resonated with him on a few levels: Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship, and working with an ensemble again onstage was like nourishment, he said." Though the <em>Times </em>didn't identify Parsons' partner, he has been romantically liked with art director Todd Spiewak (pictured).
Anne Burrell, 2012
"Secrets of a Restaurant Chef" host Anne Burrell confirmed she's a lesbian and in a committed relationship with a woman, just days after "Chopped" host Ted Allen made a reference to her sexuality in a radio interview. "Anne doesn't feel she was outed," Burrell's rep told Page Six. "She has made no secret of her relationship." The rep went on to note, "Her significant other is a very private woman. They have been together for a couple of years and spend a lot of time together."
Anderson Cooper, 2012
Anderson Cooper's sexuality had been <a href="http://www.out.com/entertainment/2008/09/22/glass-closet">scrutinized for years</a> but it wasn't until July 2012 that he finally addressed the issue when he <a href="http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/07/anderson-cooper-the-fact-is-im-gay.html">came out in an email </a> to his friend and fellow journalist, Andrew Sullivan, this summer. In Cooper's message, which was posted on Sullivan's blog, "The Dish," on <em>The Daily Beast</em>, the CNN anchor states, "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."
Gillian Anderson, 2012
The "X-Files" actress <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/13/gillian-anderson-lesbian-relationships-out-magazine_n_1342801.html" target="_hplink">revealed she's had numerous relationships</a> with women in a 2012 interview with <em>Out</em> magazine. The 43-year-old mother of three, who's long enjoyed a sizable lesbian fanbase, told <em>Out</em> that she first had a relationship with a woman while still in high school, after moving from her native England to suburban Michigan. "If I had thought I was 100 percent gay, would it have been a different experience for me?" Anderson, who was voted "Most Bizarre" and "Most Likely to Be Arrested" in high school, ponders. "Would it have been a bigger deal if shame had been attached to it and all those things that become huge life-altering issues for youngsters in that situation? It's possible that my attitude around it came, on some level, from knowing that I still liked boys."
Jonathan Knight, 2011
The New Kids On The Block singer was out-ed by fellow '80s teen pop star Tiffany in January 2011 when she revealed she dated Knight before "he became gay later." In response, Knight posted a message on his website <a href="http://www.towleroad.com/2011/01/jonathan-knight.html#ixzz1azmexp8H" target="_hplink">stating in part</a>: <blockquote>"I have never been outed by anyone but myself! I did so almost twenty years ago. I never know that I would have to do it all over again publicly just because I reunited with NKOTB! I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay!"</blockquote>
Ellen DeGeneres, 1997
DeGeneres came out in 1997, both in real life and on TV, on her sitcom "Ellen." "The Puppy Episode," which aired in April 1997, <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/column/2005/4/backintheday.html" target="_hplink">featured a who's who</a> of Hollywood, including Oprah Winfrey, Demi Moore, Billy Bob Thornton, and Laura Dern as Ellen's love interest. DeGeneres's character became the first openly gay prime time lead character on television.
Zachary Quinto, 2011
Long rumored to be gay, the actor, most famous for his roles on "Heroes" and in the recent "Star Trek" film, came out in a October 2011 <em>New York</em> magazine profile, saying: <blockquote>"In light of Jamey's [Rodemeyer] death -- it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it -- is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality. Our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country."</blockquote>
Elton John, 1976
In <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/elton-john-lonely-at-the-top-rolling-stones-1976-cover-story-20110202" target="_hplink">an interview</a> with <em>Rolling Stone</em> in October 1976, the rock star came out by saying, "There's nothing wrong with going to bed with somebody of your own sex. I think everybody's bisexual to a certain degree. I don't think it's just me. It's not a bad thing to be. I think you're bisexual. I think everybody is."
Clay Aiken, 2008
After becoming a father in August of 2008, the "American Idol" runner up <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20228488,00.html" target="_hplink">came out on the cover</a> of <em>People</em> magazine in September 2008 saying, "[Coming out] was the first decision I made as a father... I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn't raised that way, and I'm not going to raise a child to do that."
Wanda Sykes, 2008
The comedian and actress came out in November 2008 <a href="http://thestrippodcast.blogspot.com/2008/11/wanda-sykes-lv-gay-rally-im-proud-to-be.html" target="_hplink">while speaking at an anti-Prop 8 rally</a> in Las Vegas. Sykes said in part: <blockquote>"I got married Oct. 25, I don't really talk about my sexual orientation, I felt like I was living my life, I wasn't in the closet, but I was just living my life. Everybody who knows me personally, they know I'm gay. And that's the way people should be able to live our lives, really. We shouldn't have to be standing out here demanding something we automatically should have as citizens of this country."</blockquote>
Ricky Martin, March 2010
In March 2009 pop star Ricky Martin <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/29/ricky-martin-comes-out-im_n_517625.html" target="_hplink">posted a message on his website</a> telling the world, "I am a fortunate homosexual man."
Chely Wright, 2010
Country singer Chely Wright <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20365936,00.html" target="_hplink">came out in May 2010</a>. She told <em>People</em> magazine, "There had never, ever been a country music artist who had acknowledged his or her homosexuality... I wasn't going to be the first." But she changed her mind and said of her decision, "Nothing in my life has been more magical than the moment I decided to come out."
George Michael, 1998
After being caught performing a "lewd act" in a public restroom, Michael came out to CNN in April 1998. <a href="http://www.cnn.com/SHOWBIZ/9804/11/george.michael/" target="_hplink">Michael said</a>, "This is as good of a time as any... I want to say that I have no problem with people knowing that I'm in a relationship with a man right now. I have not been in a relationship with a woman for almost 10 years." Later that year Michael spoofed the incident in the music video for his single "Outside."
Don Lemon, 2011
The CNN news anchor came out to the <em>New York Times</em> in May 2011. Lemon <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/16/business/media/16anchor.html?_r=3" target="_hplink">told the paper</a>, "It's quite different for an African-American male... It's about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You're taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away."
Adam Lambert, 2009
The singer's sexuality was always a topic of discussion for viewers when he was performing on "American Idol," but Lambert didn't come out until after the competition had wrapped. In a June 2009 <em>Rolling Stone</em> cover story, Lambert said, "Right after the finale [of "AI"], I almost started talking about it to the reporters, but I thought, 'I'm going to wait for <em>Rolling Stone</em>, that will be cooler,'.. I didn't want the Clay Aiken thing and the celebrity-magazine bullshit. I need to be able to explain myself in context."
Neil Patrick Harris, 2006
The "Doogie Howser, MD" and "How I Met Your Mother Star" came out on the cover of <em>People</em> magazine in November of 2006. <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1554852,00.html" target="_hplink">Harris told the magazine</a>: <blockquote>"The public eye has always been kind to me, and until recently I have been able to live a pretty normal life. Now it seems there is speculation and interest in my private life and relationships. So, rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love." </blockquote>
Chaz Bono, 2009
Chaz Bono revealed his plan to transition in May 2009. TMZ.com broke the story <a href="http://www.tmz.com/2009/06/11/chastity-bono-becoming-a-man/#.TptSZ2VPkqU" target="_hplink">via a prepared statement</a> from Bono's publicist that read, in part: <blockquote>"Yes, it's true -- Chaz, after many years of consideration, has made the courageous decision to honor his true identity... He is proud of his decision and grateful for the support and respect that has already been shown by his loved ones. It is Chaz's hope that his choice to transition will open the hearts and minds of the public regarding this issue, just as his 'coming out' did nearly 20 years ago."</blockquote>
Chris Colfer, 2009
The "Glee" actor came out on the "Chelsea Lately Show" in December 2009: Chelsea Handler: "Your character on the show's gay. We know that you're gay. That's good for you. Congratulations. Don't be shy about that. Seriously. You shouldn't be shy about that because every time...an actor like you is helping a zillion other people that are scared to talk about their sexuality so good for you." Chris Colfer: "Thank you. You know what my answer to that question was prior to coming out -- was that I was straight as every other actor in Hollywood."
Meredith Baxter, 2009
In December 2009 Baxter, most famous for playing Elyse Keaton on '80s sitcom "Family Ties," went on the "Today Show" and told Matt Lauer that she was a lesbian. Baxter said, "Some people would say, well, you're living a lie and, you know, the truth is -- not at all. This has only been for the past seven years."
Lance Bass, 2006
The 'N Sync pop star came out on the cover of <em>People</em> magazine in July 2006. When asked why he decided to come out then, <a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1219142,00.html" target="_hplink">Bass said</a>, "The main reason I wanted to speak my mind was that (the rumors) really were starting to affect my daily life. Now it feels like it's on my terms. I'm at peace with my family, my friends, myself and God so there's really nothing else that I worry about."
Heather Matarazzo, 2004
The actress, perhaps best known for her role as tormented teen Dawn Wiener in the film "Welcome To The Dollhouse," <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/archive/ellen/People/82004/heathermatarazzo.html" target="_hplink">came out in August 2004</a> by telling the <em>NY Daily News</em> about falling in love with Caroline Murphy: <blockquote>"I met the person I'm so madly crazy in love with...She's not famous yet. She will be. She wants to do musical theater and stage, which is not as demoralizing as the movie business is."</blockquote>
Melissa Etheridge, 1993
The rock star came out in January 1993 during the Triangle ball, the first ever ball thrown for the LGBT community during a president's inauguration, in this case Clinton's. <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/archive/ellen/column/2005/2/backintheday.html" target="_hplink">Etheridge recalls</a>: <blockquote>"I didn't even think, Oh, I'm going to come out here...It was, 'Gee, I'm really excited to be here, and I'm really proud to have been a lesbian all my life.' And a big cheer went up through the whole hall, and k.d. [lang] came out and hugged me. I remember walking back, and my friend said, 'I think you came out!'"</blockquote>
Darren Hayes, 2006
The former Savage Garden front man came out by marrying Richard Cullen in June 2006. He announced the civil union on his website <a href="http://chartrigger.blogspot.com/2006/07/darren-hayes-comes-out.html" target="_hplink">saying in part</a>: "As so many of you have given me your heart and soul over the past 10 years I thought it only fitting that I too return the respect and inform you of the most significant event in my life... On June 19th 2006 I married my boyfriend of two years, Richard, in a Civil Partnership ceremony in London."
Lady Sovereign, 2010
In May 2010 the British rapper came out in <em>Diva</em> magazine. <a href="http://perezhilton.com/2010-05-12-lady-sov-comes-out#.Tpt-2WVPkqU" target="_hplink">Sovereign said</a>: <blockquote>"Magazines would always ask about it but [questions about my sexuality] would get stopped by my publicists. It was my choice, too, because I was a bit worried about it but now I don't really give a shit. You can't hide away forever. It's just stupid and now I've come out I feel a lot more comfortable with myself. But it was a bit scary back then because some people do have horrible opinions."</blockquote>
Sam Champion, 2012
ABC's "Good Morning America" weatherman, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/fashion/weddings/patrick-abner-and-thomas-roberts-vows.html?pagewanted=3&_r=1&ref=weddings">Sam Champion,</a>, not only came out of the closet in October 2012, he also announced his engagement to longtime boyfriend, Rubem Robierb, at the same time. <em>The New York Times</em> subtly mentioned the news in an article about MSNBC personality <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/01/thomas-roberts-married-msnbc-host-weds-longtime-boyfriend_n_1928841.html">Thomas Roberts' recent wedding</a>, where Champion and Robierb were guests. After his revelation, Champion, 51, discussed about his plans on "GMA" and thanked everyone for their support (see video clip).
Rosie O'Donnell, 2002
The comedian and talk show host <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/2002/2002-02-27-rosie.htm" target="_hplink">came out by revealing</a> "I'm a dyke!" during her stand up act at the Ovarian Cancer Research benefit at Carolines Comedy Club in February 2002.
Portia de Rossi, 2005
The actress had been out to friends for quite some time, but she told the entire world in the fall of 2005 in interviews with <em>Details</em> magazine and <em>The Advocate</em>. "I've had my years of being not open, many years of it... It's an honor for me to do this; it's just nice to be asked," de Rossi said in her September 2005 <em>Advocate</em> <a href="http://crispie764.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=Urgent&action=display&thread=35" target="_hplink">cover story</a>, her first with the gay press.
Sean Hayes, 2010
Long dogged by rumors about his sexuality, the "Will and Grace" actor <a href="http://www.advocate.com/Arts_and_Entertainment/People/Sean_Hayes_I_Am_Who_I_Am/" target="_hplink">finally came out</a> in <em>The Advocate</em> in April 2010: "I am who I am. I was never in, as they say. Never," he said.
Cynthia Nixon, 2004
The "Sex And The City" star was out-ed in 2004 when the <em>NY Daily News</em> and the <em>New York Post</em> <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/People/92004/cynthianixon.html" target="_hplink">reported she was living</a> with another woman in September 2004. Nixon half-heartedly confirmed the rumors when she told the <em>Daily News</em>, "My private life is private... But at the same time, I have nothing to hide. So what I will say is that I am very happy."
Frank Ocean, 2012
No mainstream black male hip-hop artist had ever come out until <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/07/arts/music/frank-ocean-draws-praise-for-declaring-his-homosexuality.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0">Frank Ocean did in July 2012</a>, just before he debuted his first solo album, "Channel Orange." The singer-songwriter posted a Tumblr post which read, in part, "4 summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide.” After that, Ocean received support from fellow hip-hop artists Jay-Z (and wife, Beyoncé), 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes and more. Daryl Hannah, director of media and community partnerships for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said, "[The support for Frank is] an extension of the overall kind of support we’re seeing across the country for LGBT people, and not just in a broad sense, but specifically from iconic members of the black community.”
Suze Orman, 2007
Financial guru Suze Orman came out in a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/25/magazine/25wwlnq4.t.html">2007 <em>New York Times Magazine</em> article</a>. The 61-year-old Chicago native was asked if she was married in the interview, which prompted her to officially come out and set the record straight (so to speak).
Sean Maher, 2011
Sean Maher, known for his roles on "Firefly" and "Playboy Club," confirmed his sexuality in an <a href="http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/09/26/firefly-playboy-club-actor-sean-maher-comes-out-ga/"><em>Entertainment Weekly</em> interview</a>, saying, "This is my coming out ball. I’ve been dying to do this.”
Amber Heard, 2010
"I personally think that if you deny something or if you hide something you're inadvertently admitting it's wrong. I don't feel like I'm wrong," said actress Amber Heard, 26, who <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/06/amber-heard-lesbian_n_792419.html">came out while attending GLAAD's 25th anniversary party</a>. Heard has starred in movies like as "Pineapple Express" and "Zombieland."
Nathan Lane, 1999
The hilarious Nathan Lane, who's well known for starring in films like "The Birdcage," officially came out in an <a href="http://www.eonline.com/news/37588/nathan-lane-comes-out-finally">interview with <em>The Advocate</em></a> in 1999. In the issue, the 56-year-old Emmy- and Tony-winner said, "It's never been something I kept a secret." But Matthew Shepard's murder led the actor to publicly coming out. "It was like somebody slapped me awake," Lane said. "At this point it's selfish not to do whatever you can."
Sara Gilbert, 2010
Sara Gilbert, who's best known for her role on "Roseanne," <a href="http://popwatch.ew.com/2010/07/28/sara-gilbert-lesbian-the-tal/">officially came out in 2010</a>. At that time, she was getting ready to launch "The Talk," a daytime talk show which focuses on parenthood and families, so Gilbert felt compelled to acknowledge her sexuality. “I don’t ever really think of things as out or in,” Gilbert said. “I just think I am who I am, and when topics come up that are appropriate, I’ll talk about them and share when it seems right.”
George Takei, 2005
The beloved George Takei, known as Sulu on "Star Trek," <a href="http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/9845944/ns/today-entertainment/t/george-takei-mr-sulu-says-hes-gay/#.UHWbJ0JAsu8">came out</a> in a 2005 article in Frontiers, a biweekly LGBT Los Angeles magazine. Takei, 75, cited the political landscape surrounding LGBT issues as one reason for coming out. Since then, Takei has been an outspoken (and humorous) advocate for LGBT rights.
David Hyde Pierce, 2007
"Frasier" actor David Hyde Pierce kept a low profile and <a href="http://www.afterelton.com/blog/brianjuergens/exclusive-david-hyde-pierce-is-officially-out">subtly came out</a> in an article on <em>CNN</em> where he mentioned his longtime partner, TV writer and producer Brian Hargrove. Later, while on "The View", Pierce spoke about Hargrove and his sexuality and said,"What you choose to talk about yourself is a personal decision."
T.R. Knight, 2007
<a href="http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20008737,00.html">T.R. Knight's coming out</a> wasn't necessarily ideal. The actor, who played George O'Malley on ABC's <em>Grey's Anatomy</em>, was called a "faggot" by co-star Isaiah Washington, prompting Knight to stand up for himself and others. He told Ellen DeGeneres, "I've never been called that to my face. So I think when that happened, something shifted, and it became bigger than myself."
The flamboyant singer-songwriter played coy about his sexuality for many years before finally coming out as gay in the September 2012 issue of Instinct magazine. Mika <a href="http://instinctmagazine.com/blogs/blog/exclusive-sneak-peek-mika-tells-instinct-%E2%80%9Cyeah-i%E2%80%99m-gay-%E2%80%9D?directory=100011">told the magazine</a>: <blockquote>"If you ask me am I gay, I say yeah... Are these songs about my relationship with a man? I say yeah. And it’s only through my music that I’ve found the strength to come to terms with my sexuality beyond the context of just my lyrics. This is my real life."</blockquote>