Though Jussie Smollett’s sexual orientation was never a secret  the public still had questions, fueled, in part, by his longstanding policy of not discussing his personal life in the press. However, Smollett chose to put some rumors to rest in 2015, when he spoke about his sexuality with Ellen DeGeneres on an episode of her eponymous daytime television show. Although he refused to talk about his personal life during the main segment of the show, he later opened up to the famous TV host in a “special sit-down chat.”

“It was really important to me to make sure that it got across that there is no closet. There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in. I don’t own a closet…” he said. “I have a home and that is my responsibility to protect that home, so that’s why I choose not to talk about my personal life.” It was a true heart-to-heart moment that ended with DeGeneres, a fellow LGBT-identifying person, saying she was “so proud” of him.

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