When I set out to write this post my idea was to discuss how celebrities who are in the closet are becoming an endangered species, but as I did research it became apparent that there are still plenty of celebrities to keep Kevin Spacey and Queen Latifah company. Yes, in this day and age it seems curious, but it's a reality. However, statements these individuals make such as, "I love women" (or talk about their crush on Tom Cruise as Rosie O'Donnell used to do) or, "My private life is no one's business" aren't fooling nearly as many people as they did a generation ago.
For better or worse, social media has become a 24/7 rumor mill, with nearly everyone's sexual orientation open to speculation. For some closeted names the tongue wagging has been going on for so long that the public already thinks they are out (e.g., Barry Manilow, and Anderson Cooper in the not too distant past). As last year drew to a close, it appeared that a big coming out was going to be Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after his personal assistant stated that they were boyfriends. But then the story disappeared, suggesting that a boatload of cash shut him up.
The late Liberace holds a special place in the closet hall of fame because, instead of coming clean with the public as Rock Hudson did before dying of AIDS, he died in his ermine lined closet. However, before his body was even cold he was being outed. (In his 1986 autobiography, published shortly before his death, Liberace reminisced that figure skater Sonja Henie was his one true love).
NEVER REALLY CLOSETED
Then there are those who never were really closeted, or if they were, it was for a relatively brief time. This group includes Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters; MSNBC's Rachel Maddow; Emmy Award winning actor Jim Parsons (Big Bang Theory); figure skater Johnny Weir; Broadway actor, playwright and director Harvey Fierstein, Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson; blogger/journalist Andrew Sullivan and playwright/activist Larry Kramer.
And there are a few I wonder about, but am not really certain, including the late Cary Grant; Hugh Jackman; Republican congressman Aaron Schock; NBC News foreign correspondent Richard Engel; Eric Stonestreet (in real life, just as much of a flame as he is on Modern Family); former Dallas Cowboys quarter Troy Aikman; singer Bruno Mars; and twenty-something actor Zac Efron.
PERHAPS NOT GAY AFTER ALL?
Finally, there are those who went through the gauntlet of speculative fire yet may be straight after all: Ron Reagan, Jr.; former baseball player Mike Piazza; Olympic track star Carl Lewis; former US senator from Florida, Charlie Christ; actor Richard Gere and songwriter Richard Carpenter.
|STILL IN THE CLOSET|
|Barry Diller||Entertainment Exec|
|Matt Drudge||Political Blogger|
|Queen Latifah||Singer, Actress|
|Tyler Perry||Director, actor|
|Aaron Rodgers||Football player|
|Ryan Seacrest||TV Show Host|
|Richard Simmons||Fitness Instructor|
|Harry Styles||Pop Singer|
|Oprah Winfrey||TV Host|