"Empire" star Jussie Smollett came out as gay during a guest appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."
The 31-year-old actor chose not to speak about his personal life during the main interview for the daytime talk show, but asked Ellen DeGeneres to film a special sit-down chat with him backstage shortly afterwards.
Smollett spoke openly about his sexuality during the interview, saying, "It was really important to me to make sure that it got across that there is no closet."
U.S. & World
"There's never been a closet that I've been in. I don't own a closet," Smollett said. "I have a home and that is my responsibility to protect that home."
"So that's why I choose not to talk about my personal life. But there is without a doubt, no closet that I've ever been in, and I just wanted to make that clear," Smollett said. "But it was most important for me to make that clear to you on your show at this time in the world. And that's where I'm at."
Smollett further explained, "Let's not read into it the wrong way when I say that I don't talk about my personal life. I'm saying that, but there is no way to hide or deny who God made me, you know?"
"My mama knows, my mama likes me a lot. And yes, I take her to 'The Sound of Music' sing-along every single year," Smollett said. "But you know, honestly, we're humans and we love and we do all that good stuff. So I'm honored for this opportunity and I'm honored to be here with you."
(E! and NBC are both part of the same NBCUniversal family.)