Julianne Hough recently posed nude on the cover of a magazine — but what she said during her interview was far more revealing than the photos. Now, Hough is reflecting about coming out as “not straight,” and how the admission has affected her sense of self.
The America’s Got Talent judge opened up about her marriage to husband Brooks Laich during the interview — and made headlines when she recalled a conversation she’d had with him. “I [told him], ‘You know I’m not straight, right?’” Hough told Women’s Health. “And he was like, ‘I’m sorry, what?’ I was like, ‘I’m not. But I choose to be with you.'”
While Hough did not flat-out say she identifies as bisexual, the fact that she publicly identifies as “not straight” despite the fact that she’s currently in a marriage with a man matters. It’s a major step in the fight against bi-erasure, and opening up about her sexuality has helped Hough feel like she’s finally living her most authentic life as well.
“I have never felt more like a woman in my life, and I’ve always been the girl next door, all-American sweetheart. And that’s a version and a part of me, but it’s not all of who I am, and I didn’t even know that about me. So the last few years have been about me picking up all parts of who I am and the parts that I’ve suppressed over probably 25 years,” the dancer said, as People reports.
She also shared that deciding to come out to her husband was tough. “I was connecting to the woman inside that doesn’t need anything, versus the little girl that looked to him to protect me,” she told People. “I was like, ‘Is he going to love this version of me?’ But the more I dropped into my most authentic self, the more attracted he was to me.”
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When I started doing music 10 years ago, I was a performer by nature. I wanted to be on stage, I wanted to sing, I wanted to dance – I wanted to pour my heart out. And I did it, but there was always a piece that felt inauthentic, because I was just PUSHING to get people to LIKE and ACCEPT me. At one point I actually just gave up on my music because I found myself constantly comparing myself to other artists. Being the competitor I was, if I wasn’t winning, I was losing. If you/I looked at the reality of what was happening, I was absolutely crushing it. But that was that. I made the call and let music fall to the side – and in doing so, I abandoned the artist in me and went further and further into the performer. About two years ago something shifted. By doing the internal work that needed doing, I found myself (unintentionally!) connecting back to my artist. Just by simply owning all the “ugly” parts of my life. The second I started going into that black hole of what it all represented and really unpacking all of the survival tactics of protection – of not feeling hurt, or like a failure, or like a fraud, I finally got to feel what it truly felt like to be RAW and vulnerable and to see all of these parts for the first time with no judgement. For two years I have been picking those pieces up, nurturing them – and transforming them. I’m not trying to change who I am or suppress those parts of me anymore – but instead, I acknowledge them, take them and TRANSFORM them. As I was doing that in my daily life, I realized all of a sudden that my creativity, my life blood, the entire essence of WHO I AM was coming ALIVE. This is the first time I truly feel like an artist and not a performer simply because everything I’m saying is TRUTH – and I’m not afraid anymore if everyone will like it because it’s just, ME!! it makes me smile it makes me feel alive I actually feel ALIVE. I’m so excited to share this part of me with all of you, this is gonna be so much fun – and it’s just the beginning! Only love and truth, Julianne #TRANSFORM photography @brianbowensmith creative direction @hello_gambles
Publicly embracing her sexuality has clearly made Hough feel empowered in a whole new way. To that effect, she recently released her first single in ten years, and it’s called — fittingly enough — “Transform.”
“For two years I have been picking those pieces up, nurturing them – and transforming them. I’m not trying to change who I am or suppress those parts of me anymore – but instead, I acknowledge them, take them and TRANSFORM them,” Hough wrote in a recent Instagram post in honor of the single. “As I was doing that in my daily life, I realized all of a sudden that my creativity, my life blood, the entire essence of WHO I AM was coming ALIVE.”