There’s been a lot of speculation about Empire actor Jussie Smollett’s sexuality since the show has risen in popularity, fueled in part by his reluctance to talk about his personal life in the media. Now he’s made a special appearance with Ellen to sort-of-kinda-come out.
Jussie plays a gay role on the show, and last week his costar Malik Yoba referenced that he’s gay in real life. Malik’s publicist had to mop that one up, which only led to further confusion.
After a recent taping of Ellen, Jussie asked to film a follow-up interview to put the issue to rest. Except rather than just say “I’m gay, and it’s really no big deal,” he does a verbal tap dance around the subject. For all intents and purposes, we’re going to call this a coming out, though its vagueness (and the fact that it only appears in a web video, not on the Ellen show itself) suggests he won’t be the grand marshall of any gay pride parades. At least not this year.
Here’s what he said:
“It was very important to me that as my first, you know, performance and talk show, that it was with you. You’ve been such an inspiration to so many, but also to me — what you’ve done in the LGBT community is very much, in my opinion, kind of like what Michael Jackson did with the black community. Just that you are who you are — he was just Michael, and you’re just Ellen. So it was really important to me to make sure that it got across that there is no closet, there’s never been a closet that I’ve been in. I don’t own a closet…but I have a home, and it’s my responsibility to protect that, 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…My mama knows, and I take her to the Sound of Music singalong every single year, so any questions?…We’re human, and we love and we do all that good stuff.”
Here’s the clip: