Out and Proud in Hollywood
72. Portia de Rossi
Hollywood power couple Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres have been together since de Rossi publicly declared that she's a lesbian in 2005. (Ellen famously came out on her sitcom "Ellen" in 1997.) The two have been married since 2008, and Portia has raved about her talk show host wife in interviews. Ellen's "acceptance of me just the way I am was kind of lovely and surprising and made me rethink how I saw myself," she told AOL.
7.93. Neil Patrick Harris
5.74. Ricky Martin
Although Ricky Martin kept mum about his sexuality for years, the "Livin' La Vida Loca" hunk – who is the proud father of twin boys – finally came out in March 2010, and couldn't be happier about his decision. "Today, I'm in touch with who I am and I have the opportunity to be in front of a camera and talk to millions of people," he said in an interview with Parade. "After I wrote [my memoir Me] and went on Oprah Winfrey, so many people have come to me, telling me, 'Ricky, thank you because I understand what acceptance is today.' 'Ricky, thank you. I feel better about myself because you have a very beautiful family and the words 'dysfunctional family' don't exist in your life.'"
6.65. Adam Lambert
"American Idol's" breakout star Adam Lambert made Billboard.com's "20 Great Gay Moments in Music" for firing up viewers with his "glam rock stylings, sexed-up stage persona, and multi-octave range." Watching him rock out on the show was exciting, much better than another blah rendition of Mariah Carey's "Hero." Billboard's list included moments that "were pivotal in advancing the understanding and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."
5.36. Melissa Etheridge
In an interview with PopEater, singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge spoke openly about gay stereotypes, including the absurdity of being called "not gay enough." Says Etheridge, "I've had the gay community say, 'Why don't you write a song saying her? Your lyrics are non-gender.' They're never happy. And the straight folks, they just assume the lyrics are about a woman, and they assume that if they go to a concert it's going to be all gay people. There are stereotypes we all have. But there's no us and them. Good God, we're all the same."
7.97. Matthew Bomer
“White Collar” lead Matt Bomer surprised many when he came out publicly by thanking his partner (publicist Simon Halls) and their three children while delivering an acceptance speech at February 2012’s Steve Chase Humanitarian Awards, where he picked up a trophy for his work in the fight against AIDS. "I'd really especially like to thank my beautiful family: Simon, Kit, Walker, Henry," he shared with the audience. "Thank you for teaching me what unconditional love is. You will always be my proudest accomplishment." Bomer can next be seen on the big screen in the stripper comedy, “Magic Mike,” opening nationwide on June 29.
78. Elton John
Singer/AIDS activist Elton John and his partner, David Furnish, entered into a civil partnership in 2005, after a dozen years together, and had a son via a surrogate in December 2010. Although supporters of gay marriage were disappointed when the legendary artist failed to get behind the cause at first, Elton later changed his mind. "As a gay man, I think I have it all," he said at a benefit to oppose California's measure to ban it. "I have a wonderful career, a wonderful life. I have my health, I have a partner of 17 years and I have a son. And you know what, I don't have everything, because I don't have the respect of people like the church, and people like politicians who tell me that I am not worthy or that I am 'less than' because I am gay."
5.89. Cynthia Nixon
"Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon took the plunge in May when she married her longtime partner Christine Marinoni. In addition to their 16-month-old son Max, whom Marinoni gave birth to in February 2011, Nixon has two other children – Samantha, 16, and Charlie, 10 – from her 15-year relationship with ex-boyfriend Danny Mozes. “Maybe I'm just lucky, but I feel like Christine is so amazing with our kids – because they're our kids," she told The Advocate.
8.410. Jim Parsons
"The Big Bang Theory's" Jim Parsons, 39, has long been a celeb who likes to keep his personal life private. But a recent New York Times profile that announced he was "gay and in a 10-year relationship" made it public. He's currently one of several celebrities featured on the cover of Entertainment Weekly’s issue called "The New Art of Coming Out." In it, Mark Harris writes about how people react very differently today than they once did to the news that a celebrity's gay. "Fifteen years ago, when Ellen DeGeneres decided to come out of the closet, it was big news," Harris writes. "Not just big: It was the cover of Time magazine, and a major story on 'Oprah,' 'Primetime Live,' and CNN. Last month, another star of a popular TV comedy went public with his homosexuality. But the news that 'The Big Bang Theory's' Emmy-winner Jim Parsons is gay was reported with such matter-of-fact understatement that many people's first reaction was a quick Google search to see if maybe he was out already and we'd all just failed to notice."
7.711. Jesse Tyler Ferguson
Like his character Mitchell Pritchett on ABC’s “Modern Family,” Jesse Tyler Ferguson is openly gay. He just doesn’t have an adopted Asian baby girl … yet. He does, however, have a partner, actor Justin Mikita, who is 10 years his junior. The duo – who have been together for two years – made their first public appearance as a couple back in January 2011, when they hit the red carpet at Elle magazine’s Women in Television soiree holding hands.
6.712. George Takei
After steering the Starship Enterprise for almost 40 years, "Star Trek's" George Takei announced in 2005 that he was gay and had been in a relationship with a man for 18 years. Later, he told the Associated Press why he had decided to come out. "The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay," Takei said. "The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young."
6.813. Jane Lynch
On "Glee," Jane Lynch portrays the track suit-wearing, androgynous-acting villain Sue Sylvester. When asked if gay actors would ever be cast in straight, romantic leading roles, the Emmy/Golden Globe Award winning actress said, "I don't know when or if that will ever happen," in an interview with AfterElton.com. "It's everybody looking at the bottom line ... I think they want their young Romeo/Juliet archetypes to be straight." Jane married her girlfriend, clinical psychologist Dr. Lara Embry, in May 2010.
514. Boy George
When asked by The Hollywood Reporter if he wishes he had been more openly gay earlier in his career, Boy George replied, "I think you do things in your own time. My family knew I was gay when I was 15, long before I got famous. But it's a very different thing coming out to your family and coming out to the universe. That's a big step. Maybe without me, there wouldn't be Adam Lambert. Without Bowie, there wouldn't be me. Without Quentin Crisp, there wouldn't have been Bowie. So everything is part of a big daisy chain. A lot of people come up to me all the time and say thank you for helping me be who I am. So my thing wasn't just about sexuality. It was about anyone who felt different; anyone who felt out of place. Being gay was one part of it."
3.915. Rosie O'Donnell
Former TV talk show host Rosie O'Donnell has been an advocate for the adoption rights of gay parents since coming out in 2002. The 50-year-old and her ex-wife, Kelli Carpenter, have four kids (three were adopted), so it's no surprise that in 2004 the comedienne created Rosie's Family Cruise, where gay families can vacation and feel comfortable being together. O'Donnell is currently engaged to girlfriend Michelle Rounds.
4.316. Lance Bass
217. Jonathan Knight
Another boy bander who happens to be gay is Jonathan Knight. Although he was always the quiet and shy one in New Kids on the Block, Jonathan definitely spoke up in January 2011 after his ex-girlfriend, pop star Tiffany, revealed his sexuality on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live." Knight responded with a statement: "I have never been outed by anyone but myself! I did so almost 20 years ago. I never knew that I would have to do it all over again publicly just because I reunited with NKOTB! I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay. Apparently, the prerequisite to being a gay public figure is to appear on the cover of a magazine with the caption 'I am gay.' I apologize for not doing so if this is what was expected!"
5.318. Wanda Sykes
Funny lady Wanda Sykes – who came out in 2008 – made a bold statement on the "Piers Morgan Tonight" show when she said that "it's harder to be gay than black. I'm not talking about the history of black people, of African Americans," she continued. "I'm talking about at this point right now … I don't know of organizations and groups like Focus on the Family and such anti-gay organizations who are putting up so much money -- millions and millions of dollars -- into stopping me from, you know, being black or telling me I can't exercise my blackness. There's no equality. There's no equality for the LGBT community."
6.419. Nathan Lane
6.720. Sean Hayes
921. Johnny Weir
Three-time U.S. figure skating champion Johnny Weir once told ESPN.com that "it's of very little importance to me that I was born gay. It doesn't make me a better athlete, it doesn't make me a stronger person, it doesn't really do anything to enhance my life. It's just something I was born with, the same as green eyes. So of course it's a bit disappointing that that's the first and sometimes the only thing people will focus on. Even if it's just in my head, I live in a generation where it doesn't matter."
7.422. Zachary Quinto
Former “Heroes” hottie Zachary Quinto has been an ardent supporter of the LGBT community for years as a Trevor Project donor, one of the many celebs who participated in the 2010 viral video series “It Gets Better,” and as a cast member in productions of both “Angels in America” and “The Laramie Project.” However, the actor didn’t publicly come out until the fall of 2011 – a few weeks after the tragic suicide of bullied gay teen Jamey Rodemeyer. "In light of Jamey's death – it became clear to me in an instant that living a gay life without publicly acknowledging it – is simply not enough to make any significant contribution to the immense work that lies ahead on the road to complete equality,” Quinto wrote on his blog. “Our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country."
6.523. David Hyde Pierce
"Frasier" star David Hyde Pierce announced he was gay in 2007 after spending more than 20 years in a relationship with TV writer Brian Hargrove. "It wasn't so much about being uncomfortable being gay, it was about being uncomfortable," he told AOL in 2010. "Like the bully on the playground was pushing your face in the dirt saying, 'Say it, say it, say it.'" Pierce and Hargrove tied the knot in 2008.
7.724. Amber Heard
Amber Heard, who has appeared in movies such as "Pineapple Express" and "Zombieland" came out as a lesbian at a GLAAD event in December 2010. "I personally think that if you deny something or if you hide something, you're inadvertently admitting it's wrong," Heard said, explaining her decision. "I don't feel like I'm wrong." Interestingly enough, recent rumors have linked Heard romantically to her “Rum Diary” co-star Johnny Depp, who just confirmed his split with his partner of 14 years, Vanessa Paradis.
5.925. George Michael
After living through a tumultuous decade, which included arrests for DUI and crack possession, George Michael finally decided he was ready to turn things around. In May 2011, he held a press conference announcing his intention to release a new album and to apologize to the gay community for his past behavior. "I have a serious problem with the fact that every time I made a mistake and every time I let myself down that I was letting young gay kids down," he said. "Because they would then witness the homophobia that is thrown at me and the language that we use in this country. There are things I want to do with my next album to make up for the damage that I have inadvertently caused by making myself so newsworthy and putting myself on the back foot enough that I couldn't defend gay children from some of that language."
5.426. Martina Navratilova
Shortly after becoming a U.S. citizen in the early ‘80s, tennis ace Martina Navratilova came out. In the years following her announcement, Navratilova ruled the pro circuit while dating author Rita Mae Brown, then Judy Nelson, her partner of seven years. The nine-time Wimbledon singles champ and Nelson broke up in 1991 (their split was highly publicized), but Martina has gone on to do many things since, such as becoming an animal and gay rights spokesperson. A vocal activist, she has fought discrimination laws in Colorado, was honored with the National Equity Award from the Human Rights Campaign, appeared in ads supporting PETA, denounced communism, and battled breast cancer in 2010.
7.227. Chris Colfer
Chris Colfer, 22, shot to fame as "Glee's" Kurt Hummel. Although he lives as an openly gay man, he explained to TV's "Piers Morgan Tonight" that he often takes photos with lawmakers that vote against gay rights. "It's more likely they'll change their mind positively if I give them the picture," Colfer said. "It's great when people come up and they're like, 'Oh my god, I just love you. Can I have a picture with you?' And I'll be like, 'Yeah, sure you don't believe in me and my rights but you want a picture with me. Sure, sure I'll take a picture with you' ... it is kind of nice when people believe so strongly against you yet they want proof that they met you. It's kind of awesome."
828. Carson Kressley
Carson Kressley became a household name in 2003 when he, Ted Allen, Jai Rodriguez, Thom Filicia, and Kyan Douglas turned the reality TV world upside down with the premiere of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” At the time, Bravo was a little-known network, but, thanks to fashion expert Kressley and his tailored cohorts, the cable channel’s popularity exploded overnight. Since the Emmy-winning “Queer Eye” bid adieu in 2007, Kressley has maintained a presence on television as a red carpet correspondent, pageant judge, “Dancing With the Stars” contestant, and host of his very own OWN show, “Carson Nation.”
6.229. Chaz Bono
Chaz Bono (formerly Chastity Bono) came out to her parents, Sonny and Cher, as a lesbian at the tender age of 18, but didn’t come out publicly until 1995. As a proud member of the LGBT community, Bono flexed her political muscles and began to write for The Advocate, campaign against the Defense of Marriage Act, and became a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. More than 20 years later, in 2008, Bono began the gender transition process, which took nearly two years to complete. In the aftermath, Bono, now 43, embraced the transformation, made an award-winning documentary about his journey, and continued to fight for the LGBT community as an outspoken contestant on the 13th season of “Dancing With the Stars.”
5.930. T.R. Knight
Former “Grey’s Anatomy” co-star T.R. Knight was essentially forced to come out publicly in 2006 following an on-set spat between Patrick Dempsey and Isaiah Washington, during which Washington allegedly called Knight a f***ot. Once news of this verbal assault made the rounds, Knight issued a statement via People magazine that read as follows: “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.”
8.431. Sir Ian McKellan
Sir Ian McKellan has been out since 1988, but feels that gay stars are still pressured to stay in the closet in Hollywood. "I don't think any gay person is going to be happy and bring joy to themselves and other people unless they can be honest about their sexuality," he said at the Savannah Film Festival in November 2010. "And if other people don't like that honesty, that's a comment on them and not on the person who is being honest."
5.132. Cheyenne Jackson
Broadway actor Cheyenne Jackson has been openly gay as long as he's been famous. The former "30 Rock" star came out to his family at the age of 19, and though his evangelical, born-again Christian parents were initially devastated by his announcement, eventually they came around. “It took awhile, but now it’s great,” Jackson told Metro Weekly in 2009. “After a few years, they started to realize I was the same person. It’s really a testament to their open-mindedness and my patience, and both of those things together.”
3.533. Tabatha Coffey
Scissor sister Tabatha Coffey is one of our favorite TV stars, and her hit Bravo show, “Tabatha Takes Over” (formerly “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover”) is a must-see for fans of hairstyling and high drama. Something that’s not nearly as dramatic as her series is her relationship with her partner of more than a decade. The happy couple splits their time between New Jersey – where Coffey’s Industry Hair Gurus is located – and Los Angeles, where she works out of the star-studded Warren-Tricomi salon on Melrose Avenue.
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