Coming Out in Showbiz: A Timeline
Ellen DeGeneres reveals she's a lesbian in a Time magazine cover story called ''Yep, I'm Gay'' just two weeks before the character she plays on the ABC series Ellen comes out as well. When the show is canceled a year later, Entertainment Weekly runs a cover interview headlined ''Yep, She's Too Gay.''
George Michael tells CNN he is gay after being arrested for engaging in a lewd act in a men's room.
''I'm a dyke!'', announces Rosie O'Donnell on stage during a comedy routine at the Ovarian Cancer Research benefit at Caroline's Comedy Club. According to The New York Times, ''The revelation capped a six-week media tease, during which O'Donnell's publicity corps dropped hints and dipped their toes in the sometimes chill waters of public opinion.''
When asked by the New York Daily News if she's in a relationship with a woman, Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon responds, ''I have nothing to hide.''
PORTIA DE ROSSI
Portia De Rossi discusses her sexual orientation in The Advocate, telling the magazine, ''Believe me, I had a very, very long and difficult struggle with my sexuality.'' The Advocate mentions that De Rossi never disclosed — or denied — that she was a lesbian after paparazzi pictures surfaced of her and ex, Francesca Gregorni. ''That was exactly my stance,'' says De Rossi. ''The most important thing for me was to never, ever, ever deny it. But I didn't really have the courage to talk about it.''
Lance Bass poses for the cover of People magazine with the headline ''I'm Gay''. Says Bass, ''I knew that I was in this popular band and I had four other guys' careers in my hand, and I knew that if I ever acted on it or even said [that I was gay], it would overpower everything.''
T.R. Knight of Grey's Anatomy comes out in a statement to People magazine that reads: ''I guess there have been a few questions about my sexuality, and I'd like to quiet any unnecessary rumors that may be out there. While I prefer to keep my personal life private, I hope the fact that I'm gay isn't the most interesting part of me.''
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
Neil Patrick Harris tells People magazine he's gay by releasing the following three-sentence statement: ''The public eye has always been kind to me, and until recently I have been able to live a pretty normal life. Now it seems there is speculation and interest in my private life and relationships. 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.''
DAVID HYDE PIERCE
At the end of an AP article on David Hyde Pierce, the writer recounts that Pierce came to L.A. in the '90s when ''his partner...Brian Hargrove wanted to write for television.'' Soon after, Pierce wins a Tony for his role in Curtains ?and thanks Hargrove from the stage.
Accepting an award at the 16th Annual Women in Entertainment Power 100 event, Jodie Foster thanks ''my beautiful Cydney who sticks with me through all the rotten and the bliss,'' leading to years of speculation about whether that statement constitutes coming out.
Clay Aiken comes out on the cover of People magazine, posing with his newborn child, who he says was conceived via in vitro fertilization with his best friend. Aiken tells the magazine, ''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.''
At a rally for same-sex marriage in Las Vegas, Wanda Sykes tells the crowd she is gay and reveals that she wed her girlfriend two weeks earlier.
Kelly McGillis comes out during an interview for a podcast with SheWired vlogger Jennifer Corday. After Corday asks whether she is looking for a man or woman or both, McGillis says, ''No. Definitely a woman.'' She adds: ''I'm done with the man thing. I did that. I need to move on in life. That's another part of being true to yourself I think that has been a challenge for me personally.''
Adam Lambert announces he's gay in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. ''I don't think it should be a surprise for anyone to hear that I'm gay,'' he says, adding, ''I didn't want the Clay Aiken thing and the celebrity-magazine bulls---. I need to be able to explain myself in context.''
As Glee's first season is about to premiere, Chris Colfer, then 19, confirms to an Access Hollywood reporter that he's gay; he is the youngest TV star to come out.
Ex-Family Ties star Meredith Baxter tells the Today show and The Advocate that she is a lesbian.
Anna Paquin, during her engagement to actor Stephen Moyer, reveals she's bisexual in the filming of a public service announcement for the ''Give a Damn'' campaign.
Ricky Martin comes out on his website, calling himself a ''fortunate homosexual man.''
In an Advocate cover story billed as ''the interview you've waited 12 years to read,'' Sean Hayes has some pointed words for the gay media, which have criticized his decision to stay silent. ''I feel like I've contributed monumentally to the success of the gay movement in America, and if anyone wants to argue that, I'm open to it.''
Following widespread rumors that a big-name star would announce she's a lesbian, singer Chely Wright comes out in a publicity blitz that includes interviews with Newsweek, ABC News, the Today show, and Oprah.
Actor Tom Hardy answers a question in the Daily Mail about whether he has had sex with men by saying, ''Of course I have. I'm an actor for f---'s sake. I've played with everything and everyone...but now that I'm in my thirties it doesn't do it for me.''
Former New Kids on the Block singer Jonathan Knight comes out in a statement on the band's website.
Years after Welsh actor Luke Evans talked openly to The Advocate about being gay, his Wikipedia page is altered to downplay his homosexuality and his representatives release a statement that Evans' earlier comments ? were made ''when he was an inexperienced, young actor.''
TV actor Sean Maher (The Playboy Club, Firefly) comes out in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in which he discusses pressure from his former manager and former agent to remain closeted.
While speaking to New York magazine about his Off Broadway role in Angels in America, Zachary Quinto comes out simply by using the phrase ''as a gay man'' in the fourth paragraph of the interview.
Matt Bomer, star of USA's White Collar, thanks his partner and their children while receiving an award for activism. It's the first time Bomer publicly acknowledges his sexual orientation.
Jim Parsons comes out in a New York Times profile without saying a word about his sexuality — one of the first examples of a celebrity allowing a writer to out him. The pivotal sentence does not arrive until more than 25 paragraphs into the article and reads, ''The Normal Heart resonated with him on a few levels: Mr. Parsons is gay and in a 10-year relationship, and working with an ensemble again was like nourishment, he said.''
As he prepares to leave his Tony-nominated role in The Book of Mormon to star as a gay man in the new NBC sitcom The New Normal, Andrew Rannells comes out to Vulture.com.
Two weeks after performing at a Long Beach, Calif., gay-pride event and being quoted as saying she was proud to be among ''my people'' and ''had been waiting to do this for a long time,'' Queen Latifah explains to Entertainment Weekly that her words should not be interpreted to mean she is coming out.
After dropping a few hints about her sexual orientation through the years, The Biggest Loser's Jillian Michaels shows off her partner and two children in a five-page article in People magazine.