The stars you didn’t know are gay or lesbian
Some stars come out as LGBT+ to big fanfare, but others may have been out for years or may have come out quietly.
PinkNews brings you a list of 43 iconic stars who, even if they personally avoid labels, are still LGBT role models.
You might be surprised who is on this list as their stories have not always had strong media attention.
1. Drew Barrymore
The Santa Clarita Diet star came out as bisexual in 2003. She has been married three times, to Jeremy Thomas, Tom Green and Will Kopelman.
She told Contact Music: “Do I like women sexually? Yeah, I do. Totally. I have always considered myself bisexual.”
2. Kate McKinnon
The Ghostbusters star was the first out lesbian member of the Saturday Night Live cast. She revealed that she realised she was a lesbian after watching Gillian Anderson as Scully on the X-Files.
“I figured it out by watching The X-Files and by noticing my physiological reaction to it,” she said.
“I thought at first my physiological reaction was a product of David Duchovny’s face but no, it was Gillian Anderson-who still is the queen of my heart. So I knew then.”
3. Michelle Rodriguez
2 Fast 2 Furious actor Michelle Rodriguez came out as bisexual back in 2013, saying she is “too curious not to be”.
She defended a controversial film she starred in that included a forced gender-reassignment surgery, saying that it made her realise her femininity.
She told Page Six: “I had to tape my breasts down, and I still looked like a hermaphrodite.”
4. Amandla Stenberg
Hunger Games star Amandla came out as bisexual via a series of Snaps back in 2016.
On the subject of minorities being “silenced” she said: “As someone who identifies as a black bisexual woman I’ve been through it, and it hurts and it’s awkward and it’s uncomfortable.”
Stenberg made her film debut in 2011 in the film Colombiana before landing the role of Rue in the mega hit Hunger Games series staring alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth.
5. Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie has spoken about her bisexuality for a long time.
Speaking to Jane magazine, the readers of which said she was the most attractive star, she said: “They’re right to think that about me because I’m the person most likely to sleep with my female fans. I genuinely love other women. And I think they know that.”
Back in 2014, Jolie, then married to Brad Pitt announced her support for their ten-year-old to self-identify as male.
The former couple were criticised in 2012 after they gave up waiting for marriage equality to marry, despite previously promising they would hold off. They have since divorced.
6. Tim Cook
The Apple boss who took over from Steve Jobs when he passed away, came out as gay in 2014.
Cook was even considered by Hillary Clinton as a possible running mate for her 2016 presidential bid.
In 2017, the Apple CEO won The Newseum Institute’s Free Speech Award for his work protecting LGBT rights.
7. Amber Heard
Danish Girl actor Amber Heard has been vocal about her bisexuality for years. She recently said being married to Johnny Depp doesn’t define her sexuality.
This year she spoke about an “obsession” with bisexuality in Hollywood.
Tabloid newspaper the Sun claimed in a sensational report that Heard’s “bisexual tendencies” and a close friendship with Cara Delevingne led to the breakdown of her marriage with Johnny Depp.
The 30-year-old finalised her divorce with Depp amid allegations of domestic abuse and donated the whole of the $7 million divorce settlement to charity.
8. Aubrey Plaza
Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza came out as bisexual back in 2016.
The actor who played April Ludgate in the hit TV show has said that she “falls in love with girls and guys”.
Her co-star Natalie Morales came out as queer in July 2017.
9. Cara Delevingne
The Paper Towns actor and model has had high-profile relationships with women.
In July 2017 she said she doesn’t like being “pigeonholed” by people who insist on labelling her gay.
The Suicide Squad star also opened up about her battle with depression, with a view to opening up a dialogue on the subject.
10. Daniel Newman
The Walking Dead star Daniel Newman who plays Daniel in the hit series came out as gay in an emotional reveal in early 2017.
In a touching YouTube video, he said a chance meeting with a girl at a homeless youth centre he was volunteering at had changed his mind about hiding his sexuality.
The actor, who has also starred in Vampire Diaries, Homeland and Sex and the City, said the girl had thanked him profusely for helping the LGBT community.
After he had questioned why she was thanking him, she said: “Because you’re straight.” That was the moment he said he knew he had to come out.
11. Jess Glynne
The singer came out in 2015, saying she wanted to be honest with her fans. She later said she didn’t want to put a label on her sexuality and helped a gay couple get engaged.
Glynne had previously spoken of how her debut album was inspired by breaking up with an ex-girlfriend.
However, when the star recently opened up about her sexuality, she claimed she doesn’t want her honesty to mean she is branded as straight, lesbian or bisexual – instead, she wants to avoid labels altogether.
12. Holland Taylor
The 74-year-old actor spoke about her sexuality back in 2015, saying she never needed to come out because she lives out.
She and American Horror Story star Sarah Paulson have since confirmed that they are in a long-term relationship together.
On coming out, she said: “No, I haven’t come out because I am out. I live out.”
13. Nyle DiMarco
America’s Next Top Model star DiMarco came out in 2015, saying he is “sexually fluid”.
The model – one of last year’s most popular contestants – revealed to his sexuality to his followers during a Twitter Q&A.
He later said he is glad to be deaf because it means he doesn’t have to listen to Donald Trump.
Back in 2009, the Black Eyed Peas star confirmed she is bisexual. And she said she does love a “well-endowed man”.
The star, who married Josh Duhamel, told the Sun: “Put it this way, I’ve experimented definitely, but I have never had a steady girlfriend.”
15. Anna Paquin
The True Blood star has been out as bisexual since 2010. In 2012 she said bisexuality is “just part of who I am”.
After coming out she said she was proud to be a happily married bisexual mother, and said that her bisexuality really hadn’t been a secret.
16. Matt Bomer
The American Horror Story star has been out as gay since 2012. He married his husband Simon Halls in 2011.
The Magic Mike star revealed his parents’ shocking reaction to his coming out in May 2017.
17. Ellen Page
Inception star Ellen Page came out as gay in an incredibly moving speech at the Human Rights Campaign back in 2014. She said she was “tired of lying by omission”.
The star has since strongly campaigned for LGBT+ rights and has said she wished she had come out sooner.
18. Gillian Anderson
As well as helping Kate McKinnon to realise her own sexual orientation, Gillian Anderson has also had relationships with women.
Back in 2014, years after revealing she had relationships with women, she said she owed it to a late female partner not to keep their relationship a secret.
Anderson was unrecognisable in a still from TV series American Gods, in which she’s playing David Bowie.
19. Joel Grey
Cabaret star Joel Grey who played the Emcee in the hit film proved it’s never too late to come out, coming out as gay aged 82 back in 2015.
The Cabaret star played the Emcee in both the original stage and film versions of the Kander and Ebb musical – and later played a gay man in the stage version of AIDS drama The Normal Heart.
In an interview with People magazine, he said: “I don’t like labels, but if you have to put a label on it, I’m a gay man.
“All the people close to me have known for years who I am. [Yet] it took time to embrace that other part of who I always was.”
20. Kristian Nairn
Nairn, who plays Hodor in Game of Thrones came out as gay back in 2014.
He said: “Well, in all honesty, when you talk about ‘the gay community,’ you are talking about my community, haha.”
Nairn later said he is happy to fight gay stereotypes: “It’s been everywhere, People, CNN, all the way down to the little local paper in Belfast. I don’t want to be a figurehead or anything, but if I can help one person, I’ll be happy.”
21. Michael Stipe
REM frontman Stipe came out as gay in 2008, a few years before the American indie icons called it a day in 2011.
The year the band split, Stipe went on to say he was “80 percent gay”. He later said that he was reluctant to get tested for HIV in the 1980s.
22. Wentworth Miller
Prison Break star Wentworth Miller came out as gay back in 2013 when he declined to attend a Russian film festival.
He has since used his prominence to speak out about his mental health issues and self-harm stemming from troubles with his sexuality.
Miller hit back at a follower who said he is not a “real man” back in 2016, and later starred in a powerful PSA about mental health issues.
23. Jason Collins
Collins later praised the NBA for moving its All-Star game out of North Carolina over an anti-LGBT bathroom law.
Collins gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention last year, as Hillary Clinton prepared to accept the party’s Presidential nomination.
In his speech, Collins reveals that the Clintons knew he was gay before he told the world.
24. Cynthia Nixon
Sex and the City actor Nixon, who played Miranda in the series, first came out as bisexual, and later as gay.
The star caused controversy shortly before her marriage, when she claimed her homosexuality was a choice.
She later clarified that she didn’t identify as bisexual and that she is gay.
Nixon this year attacked President Trump in a powerful speech she gave at the Stonewall Inn, over his attitude towards LGBT issues.
25. Jodie Foster
Jodie Foster came out as gay in a speech at the 2013 Golden Globes, opening up about her partner.
A hilarious clip of Foster dealing with a heteronormative interviewer this year resurfaced and went viral.
The twice-Academy Award winner married Alexandra Hedison in 2014.
26. Ben Whishaw
The London Spy star Ben Whishaw has been out as gay for some time. In 2016 he said he thought that keeping his sexuality a secret had a negative effect on his career.
“I’m not damaged,” Ben Whishaw told the Guardian. “Not more than anybody else.”
27. Raven Symone
Back in 2014, the That’s So Raven star came out, saying she was dating a woman but that she didn’t want to be “labelled gay”.
She later said she was made to hide her sexuality by Disney while managing her image.
28. Wanda Sykes
Comedian and actor Wanda Sykes came out as a lesbian at a Prop 8 rally back in 2008.
29. Charlie Carver
Teen Wolf star Carver came out as gay in a five-page letter published on Instagram back in 2016.
He also said he would quit acting rather than hide his sexuality, if he had to choose.
30. Jake Zyrus
After coming out as a lesbian, the Glee star who played Sunshine came out as trans in 2017, revealing his post-transition look and new name.
He began work on the musical hit in its second season, starring in the role of Sunshine Corazon, a foreign exchange student.
Speaking to Philippino publication The Inquirer, Zyrus said transitioning was a natural process.
“I just went with the flow, as always,” he said. “I had to wait, because I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”
31. Jim Parsons
Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons came out as gay in 2012, and later said it was “wonderful” to come out quietly.
He is thought to be the highest paid out gay actor in Hollywood.
32. Mara Wilson
The Matilda actor came out back in 2016, in the wake of the Orlando Pulse massacre.
“I *used* to identify as mostly straight. I’ve embraced the Bi/Queer label lately,” she said.
33. Janet Mock
Mock came out as transgender publicly in 2011.
She is a New York Times bestselling author, journalist and TV host. She often campaigns on trans rights.
In 2015, Mock said she would “unapologetically” embrace her identity.
34. Michael Sam
Former NFL star Michael Sam came out as gay and was the first out gay player to be drafted.
After coming out in 2014 and has since had brief spells with the NFL’s St Louis Rams, the Dallas Cowboys, and Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes.
35. Ian Thorpe
Legendary Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe came out as gay back in 2014.
The Australian five-time Olympic gold medallist faced rumours about his sexuality for years, but always aggressively denied being gay.
He came out in 2014, explaining in a TV interview: “I’ve wanted to [come out] for some time… I’m comfortable saying I’m a gay man.”
36. Vanessa Carlton
Thousand Miles singer Carlton came out at a Pride event in Nashville in 2010.
She told an audience of 18,000 people at a gay and lesbian festival in Nashville, Tennessee that she was “proud” of her sexual orientation.
Carlton said: “I’ve never said this before, but I am a proud bisexual woman.”
Kesha returned to the spotlight in July 2017, and she brought a rainbow with her.
The superstar dropped her new song, Praying, nearly four years after her last single.
The song will form part of her new album, Rainbow, which will be released on August 11.
38. Margaret Cho
Margaret Cho has included her bisexuality as a theme in her shows.
The comedian says she has had “a lot of experience in the area of polyamory and alternative sexuality in general”.
In the 2002 show Notorious C.H.O., she discussed her sexual orientation.
39. Sarah Paulson
American Horror Story star Paulson has been out for years and has spoken more recently about her relationship with star Holland Taylor.
This year she said she wanted to play President Trump in a comedy sketch.
Paulson was named alongside Gavin Grimm and RuPaul as one of the most influential LGBT people by TIME magazine.
40. Miley Cyrus
The daughter of country star Billy Ray Cyrus first achieved fame as Disney Channel character Hannah Montana, but took a more singular path with her 2013 turning-point album Bangerz.
41. Zachary Quinto
Star Trek star Zachary Quinto came out as gay in 2011.
He has since said he thinks he gets more work since coming out.
Quinto defended the decision to make Hikaru Sulu gay in the latest Star Trek film, after George Takei said a new character should be introduced as queer.
He also said other actors in the closet had come to him for help.
42. Bella Thorne
Back in 2016 Disney star, Bella Thorne came out as bisexual after posting a video on Snapchat of her kissing a woman.
She later responded to a Twitter user who asked if she was bisexual, confirming that she is.
43. Kristen Stewart
Before she came out, the actress had an on-again-off-again romance with Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson – but they broke up in 2012 amid tabloid rumours of infidelity.
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