×

‘Empire’ Actor Jussie Smollett Gets Why His Sexuality Is Something to Talk About

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:

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • The First -- "The Choice" -

    Sean Penn Drama 'The First' Was 'Unrelatable' to British Audiences, Channel 4 Exec Says

    Channel 4’s director of programs Ian Katz says the British broadcaster has learned a good lesson from the failure last year of its big-budget Hulu co-production “The First” to resonate with U.K. audiences. Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Katz described the Sean Penn-starring drama about a mission to Mars as a “really classy piece [...]

  • Hugh Laurie

    Hugh Laurie to Star in New BBC Thriller 'Roadkill' by David Hare

    Hugh Laurie, the Golden Globe-winning star of “House” and “The Night Manager,” will play a beleaguered politician in a new four-part thriller for the BBC, “Roadkill,” from acclaimed playwright and screenwriter David Hare. The series is being produced by The Forge (“Collateral”). Laurie stars as Peter Laurence, a charismatic Conservative Party government minister who remains [...]

  • Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth WarrenSecond 2020

    ABC News Sets Moderators, Rules for Third Democratic Debate

    ABC News has announced the moderators for the third Democratic debate, as well as the qualification rules. The debate will be held on Thursday, Sept. 12, and will spill over to Friday, Sept. 13 if more than 10 candidates qualify. The moderating team will consist of chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, “World News Tonight” anchor and [...]

  • James Corden Paul McCartney Carpool Karaoke

    James Corden Got a Little Help From Paul McCartney on His Drive to the Emmys

    Saying “Baby, I could drive your car” has proven to be a very good strategy for James Corden — never more so than when he put Paul McCartney into the highly sought passenger seat. The primetime special “Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney, Live From Liverpool” is a contender in five Emmy categories this year, [...]

  • Starz Logo

    Starz Orders Horror Comedy Pilot 'Shining Vale'

    Starz has put out a pilot order for “Shining Vale,” a horror comedy which hails from “Divorce” creator Sharon Horgan and “Trial & Error” co-creator Jeff Astrof. The prospective series is about a dysfunctional family that moves from the city to a small town into a house in which terrible atrocities have taken place. But no one [...]

  • Bethenny Frankel at the showtime Emmy

    Bethenny Frankel to Exit 'Real Housewives of New York' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bethenny Frankel is stepping away from the “Real Housewives” franchise. Variety has learned exclusively that Frankel is poised to exit Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York” ahead of its upcoming twelfth season. Frankel first joined the acclaimed reality series back when it premiered back in 2008 before exiting the series in 2010 during the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content