In a brand new interview with Time, Osborne revealed that he has been out to family and friends for a few years, and is now deciding to tell the rest of the world and his fans. “I’m very comfortable being gay,” he said. “I find myself being guarded for not wanting to talk about something that I personally don’t have a problem with. That feels so strange.”
By coming out publicly, Osborne becomes one of very few openly gay country artists to be signed to a major label (EMI Nashville). Osborne said that while he feels his sexuality is his business, he does want to help be an example for others. “People will ask, ‘Why does this even need to be talked about?’ and personally, I agree with that,” he said. “But for me to show up at an awards show with a man would be jaw-dropping to people. It wouldn’t be like, ‘Oh, cool!'”
T.J. Osborne joins a growing roster of queer artists in the country music industry, including names like Brandi Carlile, Chely Wright, Billy Gilman, Ty Herndon, Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally and many more.
John Osborne, T.J.’s brother and the other half of the award-winning country duo, said that when his brother came out to him, he was tremendously proud of him. “He was very open and candid about it, and I was emotional, because my brother was finally able to be completely honest with me about who he was.” he said. “How often, in life, do we hold back parts of ourselves and wish that we didn’t? If I had to have all my money and success erased for my brother to be truly fulfilled in life, I wouldn’t even think about it. Not for a second.”
When asked whether or not he felt his coming out would affect the Brothers Osborne’s success with conservative radio programs or fans, T.J. said he hoped not. “Maybe I’m not giving my fans enough credit, maybe I’m not giving the genre enough credit,” he said. “I just want to move on.”
T.J. added that his identity as a gay man is something he feels he has “marginalized” inside himself throughout his career, and that he’s tired of doing that. “I realize that it is a big part of who I am: The way I think, the way I act, the way I perform. God, think of all the times that we talk about love, and write about love. It’s the biggest thing we ever get to feel,” he said. “I’ve done more than I ever thought I would. At this point, my happiness is more valuable than anything else I’d ever be able to achieve.”