LGBT Celebrities Who Came Out Later Than You Remembered

Being gay in Hollywood is a lot different than it used to be. While celebrities coming out as gay used to be a scandal, it is now something to be applauded and celebrated. All of the celebrities on this list came out after the year 2000.

For some of the people on this list, that seems way later than you thought. For others, well, I bet you didn’t even know that they were gay in the first place. Keep reading to find out which LGBT coming out stories really flew under the radar.

Kristian Nairn

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Photo by Bryan Steffy/Getty Images for The LINQ Hotel & Casino

Back in 2014, Kristian Nairn, the actor who played Hodor on Game of Thrones, came out to the public as gay. Nairn told a Game of Thrones fan site, “I’ve never hidden my sexuality from anyone, my whole life in fact, and I’ve been waiting for someone to ask about it in an interview, ’cause it’s not something you just blurt out. I’ve tried to lead the questions a few times, to no avail.”

Kristian is an open book as far as he’s concerned.

Jillian Michaels

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You know Jillian Michaels as the hardcore lifestyle and fitness coach from The Biggest Loser. While we’ve known Jillian was gay for a while, it’s a fact that we often forget about her. Jillian first addressed her sexuality in 2010 in an interview with Ladies Home Journal.

She and her ex-fiancée Heidi Rhoades have two children together. They adopted their daughter from Haiti in 2012, and Rhoades gave birth to their son that same year.

Clay Aiken

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Clay Aiken was the runner up on the second season of American Idol. While Clay was on the show (and not out of the closet yet) a lot of people were already speculating that he may not be entirely straight.

Clay announced that he’s gay in People magazine back in 2008, five years after his season of American Idol aired. Since then, Clay has been an advocate for gay rights and he’s passionate about stopping anti-gay bullying in schools.

Colton Haynes

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You probably know actor Colton Haynes from hit TV shows like Arrow and Teen Wolf. Colton was worried that coming out publically may hurt his career, but it 2016, Colton decided to finally put the rumors to rest.

He came out on Tumblr in January of that year, proving to everybody that LGBT+ actors can still play masculine action heroes. A fan commented on his Tumblr post, “When I found out Colton Haynes had a secret gay past I got so excited even though I know it makes absolutely no difference in my life.”

Queen Latifah

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Queen Latifah has always existed outside the sexuality spectrum in my mind. She defies labels. She is not gay or straight, she simply is— except she is also absolutely gay. Queen Latifah has kept her personal life pretty quiet. Her Wikipedia page doesn’t even mention her dating history.

Queen Latifah has been dating a woman by the name of Eboni Nichols since 2013. They are engaged to be married, and Eboni has been spotted walking around LA with a very noticeable baby bump.

Maria Bello

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Maria Bello has a son with her former partner, Dan McDermott. In 2013, the actress revealed that she was gay in an essay in the New York Times. She was in a relationship with Clare Munn for several years.

In 2015, Bello and Munn broke up and Bello started dating Elijah Allan-Blitz, a virtual reality director for mindfulness teaching. Maria is nearly twenty years older than Elijah, so this relationship is even more outside the norm.

Michael Stipe

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R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe described himself as a queer artist to Time magazine in 2008. He said, “I think there’s a line drawn between gay and queer, and for me, queer describes something that’s more inclusive of the grey areas.”

Stipe has been an advocate for AIDS research since the early 90s. Whether you prefer the term gay or queer, Michael Stipe is definitely some kind of icon. He’s just not as loud and visible as some of the other queer icons out there.

Charlie Carver

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Charlie Carver is a young actor who often works alongside his twin brother, Max Carver. They played Preston and Porter Savo in Desperate Housewives and twin alpha werewolves in Teen Wolf.

In 2016, Charlie Carver came out as gay on his Instagram account. He wrote, “As a young boy, I knew I wanted to be an actor. It was around that age that I also knew, however abstractly, that I was different from some of the other boys in my grade. Over time, this abstract ‘knowing’ grew and articulated itself through a painful gestation marked by feelings of despair and alienation, ending in a climax of saying three words out loud: ‘I am gay.'”

Kevin Michael McHale

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Kevin McHale played Artie Abrams on the hit TV show Glee for the show’s full run. Glee was a show all about diversity and accepting our differences, so each of the characters had some kind of difference that they were grappling with. Artie was in a wheelchair and played the token disabled kid.

It was Chris Colfer’s character, Kurt, who was dealing with being the school’s only openly gay kid. In reality, both Chris and Kevin are gay. Kevin came out on Twitter in 2018.

Heather Matarazzo

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In 2004, actress Heather Matarazzo came out to the New York Daily News. She said, “I met the person I’m so madly, crazy in love with. She’s not famous yet. She will be. She wants to do musical theater and stage, which is not as demoralizing as the movie business is.”

Heather Matarazzo is best known for playing Lily in The Princess Diaries movies. She married her now wife, comedian and writer Heather Turman, in November 2018.

Wentworth Miller

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Wentworth Miller is most famous for his role as Michael Scofield on Prison Break. He also has a recurring role on The Flash.

Wentworth came out in 2013 by posting an open letter on the GLAAD website. In the letter, he declined an invitation to attend a Russian film festival because of Russia’s anti-gay laws. Wentworth has been an advocate for LGBT rights ever since. Wentworth also speaks openly about depression and mental health.

Robin Roberts

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We now know all about news anchor Robin Roberts’ sexuality as well as her battle with breast cancer, but Robin wasn’t always so open about her personal life. She came out just a few years ago in 2013.

She publically announced that she was gay in a Facebook post that read, “At this moment I am at peace and filled with joy and gratitude. I am grateful to God, my doctors and nurses for my restored good health… I am grateful for my entire family, my longtime girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.”

David Hyde Pierce

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David Hyde Pierce is best known for his portrayal of the character of Niles Crane on Frasier. He was also in a bunch of successful movies that came out in the 1990s like Sleepless in Seattle, The Fisher King, and Little Man Tate.

Pierce publicly came out in 2007. He married Brian Hargrove, his partner of over 20 years, in 2008. While accepting a Tony Award in 2007, Pierce extended a heartfelt thanks to “my partner, Brian, because it’s 24 years of listening to your damn notes—that’s why I’m up here tonight.”

Lance Bass

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There were five members of the band N’SYNC, so we all figured that chances are one of them must be gay. That’s just math.

Lance Bass came out as gay in 2006 to People magazine. He said, “The thing is, I’m not ashamed – that’s the one thing I want to say. I don’t think it’s wrong, I’m not devastated going through this. I’m more liberated and happy then I’ve been my whole life. I’m just happy.” Lance married actor Michael Turchin in January 2011.

Sean Hayes

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From the moment that Will and Grace exploded onto our airwaves, we’ve known about Sean Hayes’ sexuality. Even though Sean’s character was out and proud on the show, Sean himself came out publicly in 2010, four years after the first iteration of the show ended.

In 2013, has said that he regrets waiting so long to publicly acknowledge his sexuality. In November 2014, Hayes announced that he had married his partner of eight years, Scott Icenogle.

Tim Cook

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You may think that Tim Cook was always out and proud (or you may have no idea who he is) but the Apple CEO only came out in 2014, three years after Steve Jobs died. Cook came out publicly in an opinion piece published by Businessweek on October 30, 2014.

Cook wrote, “Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.”

Ricky Martin

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Back in the day, Ricky Martin was a real ladies man, or so we thought. It turns out that Ricky Martin isn’t really interested in ladies at all. Ricky came out as gay in 2010.

He wrote a statement on his website, saying, “these years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within, and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.”

Kristen Stewart

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Kristen Stewart has been in a few high profile relationships with men, including her Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson, but they broke up when Kristen was photographed kissing the married director of her film Snow White and the Huntsman.

Kristen has also dated a number of women including Alicia Cargile, French singer Soko, and Anne Clark (AKA St. Vincent). Although Kristen stated on Saturday Night Live that she’s “so gay,” she later clarified that she’s actually bisexual.

Sara Gilbert

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Sara Gilbert became famous on the show Rosanne, and then later appeared in The Big Bang Theory. She also co-hosted The Talk alongside Julie Chen and Sharon Osborne.

Sara Gilbert quietly came out in 2010. She is currently engaged to 4 Non-Blondes singer Linda Perry. Before coming out publicly, Sara came out to her boyfriend at the time, Big Bang Theory star, Johnny Galecki. Sara said that Johnny was super understanding and lovely to her when she came out.

T.R. Knight

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T.R. Knight’s sexuality actually ruffled some feathers on the Grey’s Anatomy set back in the day. While T.R. wasn’t yet out publicly, his cast mate, Isaiah Washington, made some anti-gay remarks in his presence. Grey’s Anatomy showrunner Shonda Rhimes wasn’t going to put up with that kind of bigotry, so she promptly wrote Isaiah’s character, Dr. Preston Burke, off the show.

T.R. Knight confirmed that he was gay in a 2006 interview with People magazine. He married his partner Patrick Leahy in 2013.

Neil Patrick Harris

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Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Michael Kors

Neil Patrick Harris is one of the most famous gay men in Hollywood. It seems like a given now that NPH is gay, but that wasn’t always the case. Neil officially came out to People magazine in 2006 way after his stint as Dougie Houser ended, and a year after How I Met Your Mother had already begun airing.

Neil told People, “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.”

Cynthia Nixon

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Cynthia Nixon didn’t come out as a member of the LGBT community until later in life because, until recently, Nixon didn’t know that she was a member of the LGBT community.

The Sex and the City star released a statement through her publicist in 2007 confirming that she was dating a woman. Nixon married that woman, Christine Marinoni, in 2012. When she first announced her new relationship, Nixon said, “I don’t really feel I’ve changed. I’d been with men all my life, and I’d never fallen in love with a woman. But when I did, it didn’t seem so strange. I’m just a woman in love with another woman.”

George Takei

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George Takei has become something of a gay icon, and he’s definitely become a vocal advocate for gay rights and LGBT acceptance. Takei officially announced that he was gay in Frontiers magazine in 2002. He married his longtime partner Brad Altman in 2008.

George was not out publicly while he was on Star Trek. A lot of people forget that he came out way after the show ended. Takei hasn’t always been loud and proud, but the world was a very different place before the new millennium.

Anderson Cooper

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Can you believe that Anderson Cooper has only been out publicly since 2012? It seems like this guy has always been our smart and sophisticated gay dad.

In his coming out statement, Anderson said, “I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something—something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed, or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true… 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.”

Zachary Quinto

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Zachary Quinto comes from a long line of Star Trek actors who have come out as gay— and by a long line, I mostly mean George Takei. Zachary Quinto publicly came out in 2011 in an interview with New York magazine.

After the suicide of a gay teenager was heavily publicized in the media, Quinto realized “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.”

Raven-Symoné

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Raven has gone back and forth on the idea of opening up publicly about her sexuality. In 2013, she released a statement saying, “I was excited to hear today that more states legalized gay marriage. I, however, am not currently getting married, but it is great to know I can now, should I wish to.”

Raven then told Oprah that she rejects all identity labels and simply wishes to be known as herself. Since then, however, Raven has referred to herself as a lesbian on The View.

Jodie Foster

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Jodie Foster resisted coming out for a long time. Many people assumed she was gay, but Jodie wasn’t really interested in confirming those rumors. Jodie sort of came out in 2013 in her Golden Globes acceptance speech. In her speech, she spoke about how it’s not fair that celebrities are expected to share every aspect of their personal lives with the press, but that:

“I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age, those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers, and then gradually and proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met.”

Jim Parsons

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The Big Bang Theory star came out in 2012 in a feature article in New York magazine. The Big Bang Theory started airing in 2007, so Parsons was playing Sheldon for five years before he told the public about his sexuality.

Even though it took Jim a while to come out to us, he has been out to his friends and family for a long time. He has been in a relationship with his partner, Todd Spiewak, for over 10 years.

Chris Colfer

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Chris Colfer is a kid who’s never really been in the closet. He didn’t feel like he ever had the option to hide his sexuality because of his distinctly flamboyant way of being a person in this world.

Colfer is living proof that being out and gay in today’s era is much different than it used to be. Colfer’s LGBT status actually helped him get the role of Kurt on the hit show Glee.

Kevin Spacey

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In light of recent events, it’s hard to believe that there was ever a time that we didn’t know Kevin Spacey was gay— and that he’s a literal predator. Kevin Spacey has always been a private person, even though rumors about his sexuality have been circulating for years.

He came out quite late in 2018, but only because another young actor accused him of sexual assault. Somehow he thought coming out as gay would be a good defense. We all know how that worked out.