"Modern Family" actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, "Scandal" star Dan Bucatinsky and comedian Wanda Sykes are all openly gay actors in Hollywood, but their coming out stories are unique and personal. In the above video from "Oprah's Next Chapter," they each share their experience.
Ferguson says he knew he was gay since he was a kid, but he had to come out to his father three separate times as a young adult. "He would kind of conveniently just forget," Ferguson says. "I think it was a process for him as well ... he had to figure out how to deal with having a son that wasn't the ideal son."
"My friend Nate Berkus told me that you have to give your parents time to grieve who they thought you would be," Oprah says.
"Absolutely," Ferguson agrees. "It's a coming-out process for them as well."
Ferguson says he was 17 the first time he came out to his family, while Bucatinsky waited until he was 25. "I was late," he says. "I told my parents at 25 and I told them I was bisexual. That I liked men and women."
Bucatinsky says it was a baby step -- his way of easing into coming out. "A year later, very similarly, I had to say, 'I'm bisexual but only with guys.' There was my bravery," he says.
Though it was a process, Bucatinsky says his parents were very accepting. "My mother knew, she says, since I was a kid and was just so grateful I finally said it. Because I think the wall that goes up between you and your family when you're hiding anything, or something that profound, becomes a wall to everything. It becomes a barrier to everything. To emotion. To connection. So she was so grateful that I had said it."
Sykes had a very different experience. She was previously married to a man in the 90s and didn't come out until she was 40 years old.
"I chose to be straight," Sykes says.
"Were you in denial about being gay?" Oprah asks.
"Repressed it," Sykes says. "Totally repressed it."
When she was in heterosexual relationships, Sykes says something was missing. "Everyone I was with, they all said, 'I feel like I could walk out this door right now and you would be okay.' And I was like, 'You know, kind of. You kind of nailed it.' And that's not how anyone wants to feel in a relationship, but that's as far as I could go," she says.
After her divorce, Sykes says she began to embrace her feelings. "I just came into my true self and now I'm able to have intimacy and real connection, and I wouldn't know what I would do without my wife," she says.