jussie smollett
Image courtesy of Scott Kirkland/FOX

Earlier this week, “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett confirmed that he’s gay in a backstage interview with Ellen DeGeneres, saying, “There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in.” Smollett told Variety that the reaction since that moment has been great.

“It was a bigger deal to everyone than it was for me,” he said. “But at the same time I do understand why it is something to talk about.”

Smollett said he hopes to use the platform as a way to make other people feel less alone, and re-emphasized that his personal life is off-limits.

“I didn’t talk to Ellen so that people could, be like ‘oh my God, let’s see what Jussie does in his bedroom in his private life.’ But I did talk to her so that people understood that they’re not alone. That’s all.”

Smollett’s character on “Empire,” Jamal Lyon, who is also gay, explores the issues associated with being homosexual, including his tense relationship with his father. Smollett says getting to play his character is one of the most beautiful experiences of his life.

“You don’t always get these experiences as an artist of [playing] roles where you feel the impact of what you’re doing, but I do. And that as an artist, as an activist, as a man, it’s feeding my soul.”

Watch Jussie’s conversation with Ellen below:

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