*After speculation last year first ran amuck about his sexuality, Jussie Smollett is finally addressing the situation.
In a recent interview with Out magazine, the 32-year-old “Empire” star opened up about sexual orientation as well as the reaction his fellow castmates had to coming out.
“I am a gay man with an extremely open heart. God, I’ve never had to talk about this, so I’m trying to find the words. If I had to label myself, I would label myself as a gay man,” Smollett shared while addressing the notion of true open love. “With that said, I believe that love is the only thing that matters, and I would hope that anybody would leave themselves open — not to gender, but to love. I would hope that people would not close themselves off from what could be if, lo and behold, you meet somebody that just sweeps you off your feet, and you just can’t do anything about it. If we truly believe that we are born this way, then why do we try to stifle the way we were born? If I fall in love down the road with a woman, I’m going to love that woman.”
Smollett’s comments come after he spent last year avoiding questions about he sexuality. Despite coming out to his parents at 19 and almost letting the cat out the bag during an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Smollett has remained tight-lipped. The actor admits that he wasn’t thrilled about his sexuality possibly becoming a “storyline” that would follow him forever once he finally came out.
Nevertheless, he found a friend in Ellen DeGeneres, who didn’t ask him about his sexuality during their interview. Smollett admits that once the interview was done, DeGeneres told him he didn’t have to talk about it. From there, Smollett’s appreciation for DeGeneres and her kindness increased as it made him want to open up about his sexual preference when given another chance, telling viewers, “There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in.”
As for his “Empire” co-stars, Smollett said he received nothing but support from everyone, including Cookie herself, Taraji P. Henson.
“She said, ‘Who gives a f—? I don’t tell these motherf—ers that I’m straight. Why the f— do you have to tell them that you’re gay?’ That was so O.G., and it just made me love her even more,” he said.
Although there were no objections to discussing his sexuality, Smollett confessed that his desire to address issues affecting the black community was met with a bit of resistance from those behind “Empire.”
According to Smollett, evidence of this was found when he mentioned that he was going to Washington, D.C. to speak at the March 2 Justice event and help with presenting a police brutality legislative package to Congress.
“I was told by two executives, ‘You know, maybe just wait. Just wait,’” the actor recalled. “You mean to tell me just because I make movies and TV and music that I can’t talk about what’s going on in the world I live in? Really? That’s not fair. Forget that. Because I’m scared that maybe viewership is going to go down? Or my next single isn’t going to do as well? Or I won’t get a movie?
“At some point, I was going to say what I believe anyway,” Smollett said.