Not long after his character on the Fox hit Empire came out as gay, actor Jussie Smollett sat down with Ellen DeGeneres to talk about his own sexuality.
The chat occurred after his regular segment for her daytime show. According to Ellen, Smollett asked her to sit with him for a post-interview video filmed backstage.
“It was very important to me that my first talk show was with you,” Smollett told DeGeneres. “You’ve been such an inspiration to so many and also to me. What you’ve done to the LGBT community is like what Michael Jackson did with the black community.
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“It was important to me to get across that this is no closet, there’s never been a closet that I’ve been in. I don’t own a closet, I own a dresser. But I have a home and that is my responsibility to protect my home. And that is why I choose not to talk about my personal life. But there is, without a doubt, no closet that I’ve ever been in, and I just wanted to make that clear. It was most important for me to make that clear to you on your show at this time.”
Smollett continued to describe his sexuality without using any definitive terms.
“Let’s not read into it in the wrong way when I say I don’t talk about my personal life. It is in no way to hide or deny who God made me. My mama knows. My mama likes me a lot. And yes, I take her to The Sound of Music sing-along every single year. So any questions?”
Watch the video below.