You have to feel sorry for Taylor Lautner. No, not because someone faked this People magazine cover story in which he apparently comes out of the closet and is “more liberated, and happier than I’ve ever been” as a result. (Just in case you didn’t smell a rat about such a story being a “special double issue,” a People rep confirmed that it was fake to GossipCop.com. Also, that quote should seem mighty familiar to some of you … more later.) But because he’d be in some really great company if he were gay and chose to come out in this manner. So many celebs have been announcing their sexual preference via their own websites or TV interviews, but the tradition of the heartfelt magazine cover story interview — whether it’s a shocking revelation or confirming years of rumors and speculation — has a warm place in our pop-culture hearts. Scroll down for some classics:
Back in 1976, Elton John’s first admission in print that he was bisexual isn’t even mentioned on the cover of Rolling Stone. In fact, it isn’t discussed until the very end of the article. We’re not sure if that’s because it was too shocking or not shocking in the least. “There’s nothing wrong with going to bed with somebody of your own sex,” the singer declared. “I think everybody’s bisexual to a certain degree. I don’t think it’s just me. It’s not a bad thing to be.”
Ellen DeGeneres’ “Yep, I’m Gay” Time cover line in 1997, and the coming out episode of her sitcom alter ego, made her an icon in the gay community, even though she sounded a bit reluctant about the terminology associated with the big event. “I hate that term ‘in the closet,’ ” she told the magazine. “Until recently I hated the word lesbian too. I’ve said it enough now that it doesn’t bother me. But lesbian sounded like somebody with some kind of disease. I didn’t like that, so I used the word gay more often.”
Ellen’s wife, Portia de Rossi, didn’t do her big cover story until after she and Ellen began dating in 2005.
Lance Bass said he held off on coming out when ‘N Sync was going strong because he didn’t want it to affect the whole group. But in July 2006, he told People, “The main reason I wanted to speak my mind was that (the rumors) really were starting to affect my daily life.” Oh, and that fake Taylor Lautner quote? It’s actually from Lance’s story: “I’m more liberated and happy than I’ve been my whole life. I’m just happy.”
Later that year Neil Patrick Harris and T.R. Knight also came out in People, though there were apparently too many divorces and other scandals going on to give their stories covers.
Though most people had guessed as much for a long time, American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken was spurred to come out in People by the birth of his son in August 2008. “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.”
Another Idol runner-up, Adam Lambert, surprised absolutely no one when he came out in a June 2009 cover story for Rolling Stone. Still, most of us were fascinated to read about why he’d waited that long to be up front about is sexuality. “Right after the finale [of AI], I almost started talking about it to the reporters, but I thought, ‘I’m going to wait for Rolling Stone, that will be cooler,’ ” he told the magazine. “I didn’t want the Clay Aiken thing and the celebrity-magazine bulls—. I need to be able to explain myself in context.” Actually, this quote explains it a little more clearly: “I’m trying to be a singer, not a civil rights leader.”
[Photos: Time/Rolling Stone/People/The Advocate]