Over the past year, we've seen Jussie Smollett blossom from Hollywood newcomer to bona fide star. The Empire star had a huge moment last year when he decided to come out on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Now, as OUT magazine's latest cover star, Jussie is opening up about his sexuality life never before.
"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," he tells the magazine. This willingness to identify is a far cry from his best friend Raven-Symoné, who has always resisted those kinds of labels.
He does say, however, that though he identifies as gay, he keeps an open mind when it comes to love. "I would hope that people would not close themselves off from what could be if, lo and behold, you meet somebody that just sweeps you off your feet, and you just can’t do anything about it," he 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."
But before you get carried away with that last statement, Jussie makes it very clear that he knows, and is living, his truth. "You’re not going to tell me that loving someone is wrong. That does not mean that heterosexuality is not very real. It does not mean that bisexuality is not very real. It does not mean that homosexuality is not very real. They are all very real," he says. "But what I’m saying is, I am a gay man. I am a gay man. I am a gay man. I don’t know how many times I have to say that."
Jussie also talks about how Ellen DeGeneres and Taraji P. Henson were both hugely important figures in his decision to come out. As we know, the young star chose his appearance on Ellen to come out to the world, but behind closed doors, it was Taraji's words that gave him confidence to do it in his own time after his Empire co-star Malik Yoba accidentally outed him in the press. "She said, 'Who gives a f**k? I don’t tell these motherf**kers that I’m straight. Why the f**k do you have to tell them that you’re gay?'" he recalled to OUT. "That was so O.G., and it just made me love her even more."
Just when we thought it wasn't possible to love Jussie more. Watch the talented star talk to us about homophobia, Hollywood and more in our exclusive interview below:
(Photo: Dave Kotinsky/ Getty Images)