While coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) in Hollywood, sports or politics has become increasingly less taboo, these experiences are still extremely personal and not met without backlash.
LGBT people frequently have to worry about the possible ramifications coming out will have on their careers, relationships and almost every other aspect of their life and this can be especially true of those in the spotlight.
Inspired by recent events, we decided to take a look back on thirteen prominent individuals in the LGBT community who, at some point, faced rumors about their sexuality but waited until later in their life to publicly come out.
Neil Patrick Harris' sexuality was hotly debated for years before he came out and the gay rumors were fueled by regular public sitings of the actor with his alleged boyfriend.
The "Doogie Howser, MD" and "How I Met Your Mother Star" came out on the cover of People magazine in November of 2006. Harris told the magazine:
"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."
Rumors ran rampant about the sexuality of Lance Bass while he was a member of 'N Sync, though the singer reportedly remained closeted over fears that coming out would "completely ruin" the boy band's lucrative career.
The pop star finally came out on the cover of People magazine in July 2006. When asked why he decided to come out then, Bass said, "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."
Anderson Cooper's sexuality had been scrutinized for years but it wasn't until July 2012 that he finally addressed the issue when he came out in an email to his friend and fellow journalist, Andrew Sullivan.
In Cooper's message, which was posted on Sullivan's blog, "The Dish," on The Daily Beast, the CNN anchor stated, "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."
There was wide-spread speculation about Michelle Rodriguez's sexuality prior to the actress' coming out, with the star reportedly telling a member of the paparazzi "I'm not a lesbian... Michi likes sausage."
Rodriguez went on to come out as bisexual in late 2013, reportedly telling Latina magazine, "Eventually it’s going to wrinkle up and I’m not going to be able to use it. I wanted to be honest about who I am and see what happens."
Jude Domski via Getty Images
"American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken had been the subject of gay rumors since his days on the reality series in 2003.
After becoming a father in August of 2008, Aiken came out on the cover of People 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."
Wentworth Miller previously denied rumors about his sexuality in 2007 when he told the press “I’m not gay, but that rumor can’t be killed."
The "Prison Break" star went on to come out in August 2013 after being invited to attend the St. Petersburg International Film Festival in Russia. In the midst of massive anti-gay violence and legislation throughout the country at that time, he decided it was time to go public about his sexuality.
"Thank you for your kind invitation. As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, it would make me happy to say yes," the 41-year-old wrote in a letter to the festival's director, which was posted on GLAAD's website. "However, as a gay man, I must decline."
The beloved George Takei, known as Sulu on "Star Trek," came out in a 2005 article in Frontiers, an LGBT magazine, after being the subject of gay rumors.
The comedian and talk show host came out by revealing "I'm a dyke!" during her stand up act at the Ovarian Cancer Research benefit at Carolines Comedy Club in February 2002.
Throughout her years hosting the "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" from 1996 to 2002, O'Donnell never publicly addressed her sexuality despite pervasive rumors.
After being caught performing a "lewd act" in a public restroom, Michael came out to CNN in April 1998. Michael said, "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."