14 Magazine Covers Depicting Celebrities Coming Out Of The Closet
From a Vietnam War veteran making a statement in 1975 to the first out NBA star in 2013, here are some of the biggest moments captured in print.
1. Sgt. Leonard Matlovich, a Vietnam War veteran, appeared on the cover of Time in 1975:
He famously stated:
In the interview he explained:
There's nothing wrong with going to bed with somebody of your own sex. I think everybody's bisexual to a certain degree. I don't think it's just me. It's not a bad thing to be. I think you're bisexual. I think everybody is.
He added that "nobody's had the balls to ask me about it before."
3. Folk singer K.D. Lang came out in an interview with The Advocate in 1992.
In The Advocate interview she touched upon the difficulty she often encountered when discussing her sexuality with the media:
Well, because when I'm asked the question I say yes. But I don't want to sit here and talk about it, although we are. It's the nature. Because it's just like if I spent my whole conversation with you talking about vegetarianism. I try to deal with my sexuality in a humorous way, because that's how I feel comfortable. Let's talk about Freddie Mercury for a minute. There's a really amazing example of someone who called himself as gay as a daffodil. He sold a lot of records and sold them to people who usually are gay bashers.
She followed up with a cover story in Vanity Fair:
4. Comedian Ellen Degeneres came out on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997 and appeared on the cover of Time:
In her Time exclusive she stated:
I hate that term "in the closet." Until recently I hated the word lesbian too. I've said it enough now that it doesn't bother me. But lesbian sounded like somebody with some kind of disease.
In her interview with Oprah she discussed her very public coming out process:
5. Baseball player Billy Bean came out in 1999, four years after retiring from the game.
In The Advocate issue he reflected on the self-hatred and shame he felt for many years:
I can see now what it means to help give someone a sense of self-worth. I know all about the self-hatred and shame and how hard it is to get to a point where you feel good about yourself. You can be an ordinary kid who on the outside has a lot going for him but on the inside feels rotten because you have been trained to think negatively about yourself. I'd love to think I helped a few 15-year-olds feel like they are cool even though they are different.
6. Actress Portia De Rossi came out in a 2005 interview with The Advocate.
In the interview, she reflected on the first time she had feelings for another woman:
Yeah, I did. When I was about 16, I was crazy about this girl. I had a certain amount of money in the bank [from her early modeling career, beginning at age 11,in print and TV commercials] where I could put a down payment on a rental [apartment], and I went to her with sunflowers. I remember holding out these flowers and saying, "I want us to live together," and she just looked at me and said, "You don't understand what it's like to be in love with a man. This is just very childish and very trivial in comparison to being in love with a man."
Here she discusses her own coming out:
7. NSYNC star Lance Bass made a public statement on the cover of People in 2006:
When asked why he decided to come out, Bass said:
The main reason I wanted to speak my mind was that (the rumors) really were starting to affect my daily life. Now it feels like it's on my terms. I'm at peace with my family, my friends, myself and God so there's really nothing else that I worry about.
8. In 2008 , singer Clay Aiken came out on the cover of People holding his new son Parker Aiken.
The former American Idol contestant told the magazine:
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.
After the news broke, he held an exclusive interview with Katie Couric:
9. Another American Idol contestant, Adam Lambert came out in the pages of Rolling Stone in June 2009:
The 20/20 interview on his coming out:
10. Following a coming out blog post in 2010, Ricky Martin appeared on the cover of People with his twins.
He wrote on his blog:
For many years, there has been only one place where I am in touch with my emotions fearlessly and that's the stage. Being on stage fills my soul in many ways, almost completely. It's my vice. The music, the lights and the roar of the audience are elements that make me feel capable of anything. This rush of adrenaline is incredibly addictive. I don't ever want to stop feeling these emotions. But it is serenity that brings me to where I'm at right now. An amazing emotional place of comprehension, reflection and enlightenment. At this moment I'm feeling the same freedom I usually feel only on stage, without a doubt, I need to share.
Many people told me: "Ricky it's not important", "it's not worth it", "all the years you've worked and everything you've built will collapse", "many people in the world are not ready to accept your truth, your reality, your nature". Because all this advice came from people who I love dearly, I decided to move on with my life not sharing with the world my entire truth. Allowing myself to be seduced by fear and insecurity became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sabotage. Today I take full responsibility for my decisions and my actions.
On Oprah he explained why he had remained silent on the subject for so many years:
11. British pop artist Lady Sovereign gave her first official interview on coming out to DIVA Magazine in May 2010:
The article read:
Sov – born Louise Harman – first realised she was gay in her mid-teens. Although she'd had her fair share of boyfriends by the time she was 16, her older sister Chloe started asking her questions when Sov began to bring girls back to the family home in north London. "She used to be horrible to me but everyone's fine about it now." Coming out to her friends first, she admits she usually ended up fancying them. "It was really bad. So in order to have a chance of even like getting there, you have to say something, and I always used to convert a lot straight girls – I still do."
12. Also in May 2010, country artist Chely Wright released a memoir, album, and documentary revealing that she was gay.
Her story didn't actually make the cover of People, or even make the sidebar of the issue — it did have a spread inside:
Here is the trailer of the documentary that detailed her coming out:
13. Basketball player Brittney Griner discussed her coming out in April of this year with ESPN, right before being drafted into the WNBA.
In the issue she stated:
The article opened with:
I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay.
I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. I wish I wasn't the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying, "I'm different." If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand.
My journey of self-discovery and self-acknowledgement began in my hometown of Los Angeles and has taken me through two state high school championships, the NCAA Final Four and the Elite Eight, and nine playoffs in 12 NBA seasons.