‘Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett Comes Out During His ‘Ellen’ Interview

Jussie Smollett plays gay R&B singer Jamal Lyon on Empire, but the actor had never publicly spoken about his own sexuality. Until now.

After filming an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Smollett requested a sit-down with the host backstage, wanting to make one thing clear:

“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,” Smollett told Ellen DeGeneres. “So that’s why I choose not to talk bout 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, 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.”

Last week, his co-star Malik Yoba outted Smollett as a gay man during an interview with BlackFilm, sparking public speculation.

After Smollett’s remarks, DeGeneres made sure to state how proud of him she was, after noting, “There are questions out there and I think that’s why it was my responsibility to at least just give you the opportunity.”

Props to Smollett for owning who he is and not letting anyone define the way he lives his life for him.

Tara Aquino is an entertainment writer based out of L.A. She likes people, places, and things.