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In celebration of National Coming Out Day, reflect on these emotional, empowering and sometimes bizarre stories from show business.

  • Ellen DeGeneres  

    There’s no room for argument — the comedian and talk show host’s 1997 Time magazine cover declaring “Yep, I’m Gay” is pop culture’s flagship coming out story. 

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  • Elton John  

    While the iconic singer has been synonymous with the LGBT community for decades, he didn’t come out formally until 1976 — at first telling Rolling Stone he was bisexual years before his partner David Furnish and their two children came into the picture.

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  • Jodie Foster  

    While Foster’s sexuality was a topic of discussion for decades in the press, her 2013 acceptance of the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes put any doubts to rest. In a speech that was widely regarded as bizarre, Foster thanked her longtime female partner and co-parent, Cydney Bernard. 

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  • Frank Ocean   

    In a widely celebrated blog post in 2012, R&B singer and prolific songwriter Ocean revealed a tumultuous romantic relationship with another man. The admission was applauded for discussing the intersection of sexual orientation and the repression of African American male identities. 

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  • Kristen Stewart   

    While her early career was defined by the fever pitch over “The Twilight Saga” and her co-star/boyfriend Robert Pattinson, Stewart later pursued a low-key slate of indies and relationship with female singer St. Vincent. She openly addressed their connection in a September 2016 Elle magazine interview. 

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  • Lance Bass    

    Bass was the subject of mass heterosexual teen girl fantasy as a member of the boy band *NSync. In a 2006 People magazine interview, however, Bass’ coming out launched a new generation of LGBT entertainers casually revealing their sexual orientation. 

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  • Maria Bello   

    The actress and producer started a small movement with her tome on fluid sexuality, “Whatever… Love is Love,” published in 2015. It discussed how her female best friend became her significant other. 


  • Anderson Cooper   

    The CNN anchor had long ignored speculation over his sexuality until 2012. In an email with blogger Andrew Sullivan, Cooper wrote, “The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.” 

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  • Amandla Stenberg   

    The “Hunger Games” actress and millennial icon revealed in a Snapchat interview with TeenVogue that she identified as bisexual — but later said even that term was too constricting, as it did not account for trans identities. She now prefers “pansexual.” 

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  • Ricky Martin   

    Ten years after “Livin’ La Vida Loca” swept the globe, Martin revealed he was gay in a 2010 blog post on his official website. The father of two is still a musician and LGBT activist. 

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  • Cynthia Nixon

    “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon’s personal life became the fascination of bloggers and celebrity magazines after leaving her partner Danny Mozes for New York education activist Christine Marinoni. The pair moved in together in 2007 and raised her two kids with Mozes. In 2012, Nixon formally identified as bisexual. 


  • Matt Bomer  

    “American Horror Story” actor and marble-carved-cheekbones owner Bomer acknowledged his partner, publicist Simon Halls, and their three kids in an emotional humanitarian award speech in 2012.  

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  • Colton Haynes    

    Beloved for both his physique and silly social media persona, the “Arrow” star hinted slyly he was not straight before formally coming out in 2016. His vagueness was criticized by others in Hollywood. 

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  • Robin Roberts   

    The ABC anchor touched many by thanking her “longtime girlfriend, Amber,” in a 2013 Facebook post updating fans about a recent bone marrow transplant. 

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  • Jason Collins

    Collins earned a place in history as the first openly gay athlete actively playing in one of the four major sports leagues in the U.S. The retired basketball player is still an activist. 

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  • Wentworth Miller 

    The actor and screenwriter was the portrait of brute masculinity in the 2005 Fox series “Prison Break,” which made his heartfelt coming out in 2013 — and subsequent admission to body image and depression struggles — resonate all the more with fans.  

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  • Reid Ewing

    After a blistering takedown of Hollywood and a wrenching chronicle of botched plastic surgery thanks to body dysmorphia, “Modern Family” actor Reid Ewing openly celebrated his sexuality in response to a Twitter question about his being “out of the closet.” The actor responded, “I was never in.” 

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  • Barry Manilow

    At 73-years-young, singer Barry Manilow opened up about his sexuality for the first time in his long 50-year career. He invited People into his home to introduce his manager and husband Garry Kief about their 40-year romance. “I thought I would be disappointing them if they knew I was gay,” Manilow said of his fans. “So I never did anything.” 

    Garry Kief (left) and Barry Manilow. Getty Images

  • Ellen Page

    “Juno” actress Ellen Page spoke at the Human Rights Campaign Time to Thrive supporting LGBT youth in 2014, but she surprised the audience in why she was there to begin with by using the occasion to come out herself. “I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission,” Page said in her speech. “I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain.”

  • Shannon Purser

    “Stranger Things” actress Shannon Purser used Twitter in 2017 to say she was grappling with her sexuality. Within days of doing so, she revealed that she had only just told her family and friends that she identified as bisexual. “It’s something I am still processing and trying to understand and I don’t like talking about it too much,” she said. “I’m very very new to the LGBT community.”


  • Kevin Spacey 

    In October 2017 at the height of the #MeToo movement, the Oscar-winning actor chose a truly awkward moment to publicly identify as gay — shortly after he was accused of making sexual advances on an underage actor, Anthony Rapp. “I honestly do not remember the encounter,” Spacey said. He has since been accused of sexual misconduct by many more individuals. 

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  • Happy National Coming Out Day!

    In celebration of National Coming Out Day, reflect on these emotional, empowering and sometimes bizarre stories from show business.

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