January 29, 2016 at 12:05 pm EST | by Mariah Cooper
Jussie Smollett grateful for coming out on ‘Ellen’
(Screenshot courtesy of YouTube)

(Screenshot courtesy of YouTube)

“Empire” star Jussie Smollet says he doesn’t regret coming out on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” last year, in an interview with OUT magazine.

Smollet, 31, publicly addressed being gay on the show and told DeGeneres there was “no closet that I’ve ever been in.” In his interview with OUT, Smollett says DeGeneres didn’t force him to come out on the show and he made the decision himself to reveal his sexuality.

“I was ready to talk about it,” Smollett told OUT. “[Ellen] told me, ‘You don’t have to.’ I will be forever grateful to Ellen for the kindness she showed me. And that made me want to talk about it.”

The actor says he identifies as a gay man but isn’t closed off to falling in love with a woman.

“I am a gay man with an extremely open heart. God, I’ve never had to talk about this, so I’m trying to find the words. If I had to label myself, I would label myself as a gay man,” Smollett says.

“With that said, I believe that love is the only thing that matters, and I would hope that anybody would leave themselves open — not to gender, but to love,” Smollett continued. “If we truly believe that we are born this way, then why do we try to stifle the way we were born? If I fall in love down the road with a woman, I’m going to love that woman.”

Smollett, whose character Jamal Lyon is gay on “Empire”, also said his T.V. mother Taraji P. Henson who plays Cookie Lyon, gave him advice on being publicly gay.

“She said, ‘Who gives a fuck? I don’t tell these motherfuckers that I’m straight. Why the fuck do you have to tell them that you’re gay?’ That was so O.G., and it just made me love her even more,” Smollett says.




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