Skip To Content

    How Dramatically Different 22 Celebrities Looked Before And After They Came Out

    The "gay glow-up" is real.

    1. Neil Patrick Harris before he came out:

    Ron Davis / Getty Images

    Neil Patrick Harris when he publicly came out in 2006:

    Ian Smile / Getty Images

    What he said when he came out:

    “The public eye has always been kind to me, and until recently I have been able to live a pretty normal life. Now it seems there is speculation and interest in my private life and relationships.

    So, rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, 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.”

    Neil Patrick Harris now:

    2. Sir Ian Mckellen before he came out:

    Mirrorpix / Getty Images

    Sir Ian McKellen when he publicly came out in 1988:

    Mirrorpix / Getty Images

    What he said when he came out: Ian came out on a BBC program when he was asked about a controversial government bill against "promoting homosexuality." When asked about his opinion of the bill I said, "It’s offensive to anyone who is - like myself - homosexual, apart from the whole business of what can and cannot be taught to children.”

    Mirrorpix / Getty Images

    Sir Ian McKellen now:

    David M. Benett / Getty Images

    I’ve never met a gay person who regretted coming out – including myself. Life at last begins to make sense, when you are open and honest. Today is the 30th anniversary of the BBC radio discussion when I publically said I was gay. So I’m celebrating!

    Twitter: @IanMcKellen

    3. George Takei before he came out:

    Frank Trapper / Getty Images

    George Takei when he publicly came out in 2005:

    Stan Honda / Getty Images

    What he said when he came out: "The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay. The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young.”

    George Takei now:

    4. Ricky Martin before he came out:

    Picture Alliance / picture alliance via Getty Images

    Ricky Martin when he publicly came out in 2010:

    Handout / Getty Images

    What he said when he came out: "This is just what I need, especially now that I am the father of two beautiful boys that are so full of light and who with their outlook teach me new things every day. 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."

    Ricky Martin now:

    5. Don Lemon before he came out:

    Brian To / FilmMagic / Getty Images

    Don Lemon when he publicly came out in 2011:

    Robin Marchant / Getty Images

    What he said when he came out: “I think if I had seen more people like me who are out and proud, it wouldn’t have taken me 45 years to say it."

    Don Lemon now:

    6. Anderson Cooper before he came out:

    Abc Photo Archives / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

    Anderson Cooper when he publicly came out in 2012:

    Kevin Winter / Getty Images

    What he said when he came out: "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."

    Anderson Cooper now:

    7. Robin Roberts before she came out:

    Anthony Barboza / Getty Images

    Robin Roberts when she publicly came out in 2013:

    Ray Tamarra / Getty Images

    What she said when she came out: Robin wrote on Facebook, "I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together." It was the first time she publicly acknowledged she was gay.

    Robin Roberts now:

    8. Ellen before she came out:

    Nbc / Getty Images

    Ellen when she publicly came out in 1997:

    Abc Photo Archives / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

    What she said when she came out: "I never wanted to be 'the lesbian actress.' I never wanted to be the spokesperson for the gay community. Ever. I did it for my own truth."

    Ellen now:

    9. Lance Bass before he came out:

    Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty

    Lance Bass when he publicly came out in 2006:

    Patrick Mcmullan / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

    What he said when he came out: "I'm not ashamed. I'm more liberated and happy than I've been my whole life."

    Lance Bass now:

    10. Raven Symoné before coming out:

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

    Raven Symoné when she publicly came out in 2013:

    Imeh Akpanudosen / Getty Images

    What she said when she came out: After marriage equality was legalized Raven said, "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 Symoné now:

    Greg Doherty / Getty Images

    11. Tom Daley before he came out:

    Rune Hellestad - Corbis / Getty Images

    Tom Daley when he came out in 2013:

    Jon Furniss / WireImage / Getty Images

    What he said when he came out: Tom came out in a YouTube video and said, "In Spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone, and they make me feel so happy, so safe and everything just feels great. That someone is a guy."

    Tom Daley now:

    12. Matt Bomer before coming out:

    Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

    Matt Bomer when he publicly came out in 2012:

    Jerod Harris / WireImage / Getty Images

    What he said when he came out: Matt thanked his partner in an acceptance speech for an award for activism. Matt said, "I'd really especially like to thank my beautiful family: Simon, Kit, Walker, Henry. Thank you for teaching me what unconditional love is. You will always be my proudest accomplishment."

    Matt Bomer now:

    13. Michael Stipe before he came out:

    Larry W. Cutchall / Getty Images

    Michael Stipe when he publicly came out in 1994:

    Larry W. Cutchall / Getty Images

    What he said about coming out: "Any longstanding R.E.M. fan who had not figured out I was queer before that point wasn’t looking very hard."

    Michael Stipe now:

    14. Wanda Sykes before she came out:

    Nbc / Getty Images

    Wanda Sykes when she publicly came out in 2008:

    Nbc / Getty Images

    What she said when she came out: Wanda came out when she attended a 2008 rally against Prop 8. She said, "When I came out, it wasn't a planned thing at all. It was a national day of protest against the passage of Prop 8. I said, 'Okay where's the rally, we are going to go to the rally.' And I did. And in my speech I said that I got married and I'm pissed."

    Wanda Sykes now:

    15. Kevin McHale before coming out:

    Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

    Kevin McHale when he publicly came out in 2018:

    #NoTearsLeftToCry is gayer than me and I ACCEPT. Ty @ArianaGrande.

    What he said when he came out: Kevin literally came out in the tweet above about "No Tears Left To Cry."

    Kevin McHale now:

    16. Zachary Quinto before he came out:

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

    Zachary Quinto when he publicly came out in 2011:

    Sonia Recchia / Getty Images

    What he said when he came out: “In light of Jamey (Rodemeyer'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. Our society needs to recognize the unstoppable momentum toward unequivocal civil equality for every gay lesbian bisexual and transgendered citizen of this country.”

    Zachary Quinto now:

    17. Rosie O'Donnell before she came out:

    Time & Life Pictures / The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

    Rosie O'Donnell when she came out in 2002:

    Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

    What she said when she came out: Rosie said about her Tom Cruise obsession, "I said I wanted him to mow my lawn and bring me a lemonade. I never said I wanted (to have sex with him).”

    Rosie O'Donnell now:

    18. Jim Parsons before he came out:

    Hal Horowitz / WireImage / Getty Images

    Jim Parsons when he publicly came out in 2012:

    Lester Cohen / WireImage / Getty Images

    What he said when he came out: A New York Times profile mentioned that he had been in a relationship with a man for 10 years. He later said this about the interview, "I was doing an interview (in 2012) the summer after I had been in The Normal Heart on Broadway. I was doing Harvey in New York, and I was interviewed by Patrick Healy of The New York Times. I can't remember the exact question, but he asked about something to the effect of, ‘Was it more meaningful to be a part of The Normal Heart being gay?’ I said yes. I remember leaving there going, well, I sort of just took the back door out, as it were. I remember thinking it was kind of poetically perfect."

    Jim Parsons now:

    19. Clay Aiken before coming out:

    Fox / Getty Images

    Clay Aiken when he publicly came out in 2008:

    Bruce Glikas / FilmMagic / Getty Images

    What he said when he came out: Clay came out when he had his son. He told People, "It was the first decision I made as a father. I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn’t raised that way, and I’m not going to raise a child to do that.”

    Clay Aiken now:

    20. Elliot Page before coming out:

    Dia Dipasupil / WireImage / Getty Images

    Elliot Page when he publicly came out in 2020:

    Elliot Page now:

    21. Elton John before coming out:

    Val Wilmer / Redferns / Getty Images

    Elton John when he publicly came out as gay in 1988:

    Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

    What he said when he came out: Elton came out as bi in a interview in 1976. When he publicly came out as gay in 1988 he told everyone he waited so long to come out as gay because, as he said, "I just thought it was common knowledge."

    Elton John now:

    22. Eddie Izzard before coming out:

    Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

    Eddie Izzard when she came out in 2020:

    Ian West - Pa Images / Getty Images

    What she said when she came out: Eddie has been talking about being trans for the past few years. He told the Hollywood Reporter he has boy mode and girl mode and is "essentially trans." At the end of 2020, Eddie announced that she is using "she/her" pronouns. When asked about it she said, "It feels great."

    Eddie Izzard now:

    Nicky J Sims / Getty Images