Designer Nate Berkus has been open about his sexuality his entire professional career, but during a conversation with Oprah on OWN's "Super Soul Sunday," he says coming out to his family was a more complicated process.
In the video, Oprah asks Berkus to describe his coming out story, which he wrote about in his book, The Things That Matter. Although Berkus says he knew he was gay since he was 8 or 9 years old, he didn't come out to his family until he was in college.
His stepfather, however, already knew. He had found a letter from a guy Berkus was dating, but chose not to mention it at first. "So though he had discovered that I was gay in the beginning of the summer, he waited three months to tell me that he had made that discovery," Berkus says. "And the reason is that he wanted to show me -- not tell me, he wanted to show me -- that his behavior to me hadn't changed."
Berkus says his stepfather told him, "I don't feel any differently about you now than I did before I found this out about you."
Oprah says the way his stepfather handled the situation is a powerful lesson for parents. "That is taking the spiritual philosophy and putting it into spiritual practice," she says.
Also in the video, Berkus discusses what it was like to know he was gay as a child – but feel that he had to hide it. "You have to lie," he says. "You feel that you have to lie so that you're not cast out, so that your parents don't cast you out."
"I was 8 years old, 9 years old when I became conscious of the fact that I was gay and I had to develop a whole skill set around hiding that," Berkus says. "And it's taken me almost all of my adult life to rid myself of those, because I got pretty good at it."
Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. Learn more