Empire star Jussie Smollett is a pretty private person and makes a point of not speaking about his personal life. However, during a recent sit-down with Ellen DeGeneres, he made the decision to open up about his sexuality.
There have been a lot of questions about Smollett’s own sexuality since his character on the hit Fox series, Jamal Lyon, came out, and during an inspiring interview on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, he chose to address these questions.
“It was really important to me to make sure that it got across that there is no closet,” Smollett explained. “There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in. I don’t own a closet. I got a dresser, but I don’t have a closet. But I have a home and that is my responsibility to protect that home.
“So that’s why I choose not to talk ’bout my personal life,” he continued. “But there is, without a doubt, no closet that I’ve ever been in, and I just wanted to make that clear. But it was most important for me to make that clear to you on your show at this time in the world. And that’s where I’m at.”
DeGeneres then went on to address the questions that have been surrounding Smollett, and applauded him for being himself and never pretending to be something or someone that he is not.
“There are questions out there, so I think that’s why it was my responsibility to at least give you the opportunity. And I am so proud of you that you say there is no closet. There never has been a closet. You’ve never pretended to be anything that you aren’t,” DeGeneres told Smollett.
It’s clear that Smollett does not use labels to describe himself and he has driven home the point that there are many other things that define him besides his sexuality. But he did explain that just because he doesn’t speak about his personal life does not mean he is denying who is really is.
“When I say that I don’t talk about my personal life, I am saying that, but it is no way to hide or deny who God made me,” he told DeGeneres.
DeGeneres also tweeted words of encouragement for Smollett, saying she was proud of him for being true to who he is.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 9, 2015
Watch the inspirational video below.