'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett Comes Out

03/09/2015 01:51 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

"Empire" star Jussie Smollett opened up about his sexuality for the first time in an intimate interview with Ellen DeGeneres.

Interestingly, the 31-year-old actor opted to arrange a backstage chat with DeGeneres after his official appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," which airs March 9, to speak about the subject. However, he stopped short of using the terms "gay" and "bisexual" in the clip.

"It was really important to me to make sure that it got across that there is no closet," he said. "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."

He then quipped, "My mama knows, my mama likes me a lot and yes, I take her to 'The Sound of Music' sing-along every single year."

"Empire" has already received heaps of praise for its gay-inclusive plot. On the smash Fox series, Smollett plays Jamal Lyon, an openly gay singer-songwriter who is the ex-boyfriend of Michael Sanchez (Rafael de La Fuente).

In his "Ellen" appearance, Smollett revealed that he landed his "Empire" audition after sending co-creator Lee Daniels a private message on Instagram. He was called back for seven auditions before he got the role.

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