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10 Best Celebrity Coming Out Stories

Neil Patrick Harris Ellen Degeneres Adam Lambert
Michael Buckner / Kevin Winter / Jamie McCarthy, Getty Images

Coming out of the closet isn’t easy for anyone, but when you’re famous, it’s even harder to announce that you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual or anything else outside of the hetero-normative narrative. These celebs bravely came out to the public — some not necessarily by choice — and inspired us all.

Adam Lambert: Rolling Stone Interview

When he was a runner-up on ‘American Idol,’ most viewers figured Adam Lambert was gay, but no one knew for sure until he came out in Rolling Stone. Lambert wasn’t hiding his sexuality by any means, but he was waiting for the right forum to confirm it. He explained, “I’m proud of my sexuality. I embrace it. It’s just another part of me … Right after the finale, I almost started talking about it to the reporters, but I thought, ‘I’m going to wait for Rolling Stone, that will be cooler.’”

Adam Lambert
Pacific Coast News

Lance Bass: PEOPLE Cover

Lance Bass was pretty much outed by Perez Hilton, but the former ‘N Sync star still wanted to come out on his own terms — and he wanted to wait until it wouldn’t affect his bandmates’ careers. He opened up to PEOPLE magazine, saying, ”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.”

lance-bass
Michael Buckner, Getty Images

Neil Patrick Harris: PEOPLE Cover

Neil Patrick Harris was also essentially outed by Perez Hilton, and he followed the same route as Bass. ”The public eye has always been kind to me, and until recently I have been able to live a pretty normal life,” the ‘How I Met Your Mother’ star said. “Now it seems there is speculation and interest in my private life and relationships,” he continued. “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.”

neil-patrick-harris-fiance
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Ricky Martin: Blog Post

Ricky Martin faced a ton of speculation about his sexuality, dating back to his Menudo days. Once he and his partner, Carlos Gonzalez, got serious — even having kids — Martin became more open about his romantic life. In a heartfelt blog on his website, the ‘Cup of Life’ singer wrote, ”I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am. To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids were born with. These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.”

ricky-martin
Gustavo Caballero, Getty Images

Wanda Sykes: Gay Rights Rally

Comedian Wanda Sykes was always vocal about gay rights, but she was relatively quiet about her own homosexuality until the passing of Proposition 8. The funny lady, who divorced her husband of seven years in 1998, came out at a gay rights rally. She told the crowd, “I don’t really talk about my sexual orientation. I didn’t feel like I had to. I was just living my life, not necessarily in the closet, but I was living my life … Everybody that knows me personally, they know I’m gay. But that’s the way people should be able to live their lives.” On the subject of Prop 8, Sykes said, “We took a huge leap forward and then got dragged 12 feet back. I felt like I was being attacked, personally attacked — our community was attacked. Now, I gotta get in their face,” she sassed. “I’m proud to be a woman. I’m proud to be a black woman, and I’m proud to be gay.”

wanda-sykes
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Darren Young: TMZ Interview

WWE wrestler Darren Young became the first openly gay major league pro wrestler who was still signed at the time of his coming out. When TMZ asked Young if he believed a gay wrestler could succeed in the WWE, Young replied, ”Absolutely. Look at me. I’m a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I’ll tell you right now, I’m gay. And I’m happy. I’m very happy.”

darren-young
NBC Newswire

Jodie Foster: At the Golden Globes … Sort Of

Jodie Foster pretty much came out at the 2013 Golden Globes, but in doing so actually waxed poetic about the importance of privacy. “I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to friends and family and coworkers,” she said while accepting her Cecil B. DeMille Award. ”But now I’m told every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, fragrance, and reality show … but seriously, if you had been a public figure from the time that you were a toddler, if you had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds, then maybe you too might value privacy above all else.”

Jodie Foster came out at the Golden Globes in an inspiring speech.
Handout, Getty Images

Wentworth Miller: While Taking a Stand Against Russian Homophobia

Wentworth Miller came out in an open letter when he rejected an appearance at the St. Petersburg International Film Festival in Russia. Miller, an active member of GLAAD, wrote, “As a gay man, I must decline … I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government. The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.”

wentworth-miller-gay
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

George Michael: By Getting Arrested

When George Michael was arrested for a lewd act in a public restroom in 1998, he was extremely sheepish about the whole thing, but also remarkably and lovably candid. “I feel stupid and reckless and weak for letting my sexuality be exposed that way,” Michael told CNN (via MTV News). “But I do not feel shame [about my sexuality], neither do I think I should … ”I want people to know that the songs I wrote back then about women are about women — there was no bulls— there — while the songs I’ve written recently have been fairly obviously about men.”

george-michael
Chris Jackson, Getty Images

Ellen DeGeneres: On National Television

In April 1997, Ellen DeGeneres wrote her coming out into her sitcom, breaking new ground for Hollywood’s LGBTQ community — whether she liked it or not. DeGeneres later explained, ”I never wanted to be ‘the lesbian actress.’ I never wanted to be the spokesperson for the gay community. Ever. I did it for my own truth.” And eventually for Portia De Rossi’s, too.

Ellen DeGeneres Welcome Party
Scott Barbour, Getty Images

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