Raven-Symoné opened up about her struggle with her sexuality in the third season of “It Got Better,” a docu-series born from Dan Savage’s It Gets Better campaign.
In interview footage, the former child actress says hiding her identity “ate at her soul.”
“My likeness… however you see it at that time, had 15 people dictating what I should and should not look like. If I did whatever I want, it’s not gonna sell. It doesn’t go with the brand. I was branded at such a young age. I kinda pushed myself to look for boys,” Raven-Symoné, 30, says. “I look back now like, ‘Woah, you like girls.'”
“I didn’t wanna tell my parents,” Raven-Symoné continues. “I had the number one show on Disney. I had multiple albums, I’d been on tour with *NSYNC… I didn’t wanna deal with that. I never thought I would come out because my personal life didn’t matter. It was only what was supposed to be sold as the Raven-Symoné brand.”
The actress says that when she when she took a break from the entertainment industry and went to college she finally had the freedom to be herself.
“I didn’t have to have a ‘beard.’ I didn’t have to have a man standing by me. I felt lighter, I felt like I could go out and not have to put on 17 different hats to be myself,” Raven-Symoné says.
This is the first time Raven-Symoné has candidly discussed her sexuality. The first public mention of her sexuality was in 2013 when she tweeted “I can finally get married! Yay government! So proud of you” after the legalization of same-sex marriage in California. She was in a relationship with model AzMarie Livingston for four years before the couple split in 2015.
“It Got Better” launches on Tuesday on L/Studio, Lexus’ digital content channel. Other interviews will include Sir Ian McKellen, Candis Cayne, Adam Lambert, EJ Johnson and Wanda Sykes.