Jussie Smollett plays a fearless perfectionist with huge ambitions on Fox’s Empire. He plays the same thing in real life. Smollett, whose character struggles with coming out as gay on the show, made his talk show circuit debut on Ellen this week. He chose Ellen for a reason: “It was very, very important to me that, as my first performance and talk show that it was with you. You’ve been such an inspiration to so many, but also to me,” Smollet told Ellen, citing all she’d done for LGBT awareness and rights.
Smollett didn’t come out exactly because he couldn’t–there never has been a closet for him. The actor wants people to know that he’s proud of who he is–he just doesn’t want to share his personal life any more than that. “So lets not read into it wrong when I say that I don’t talk about my personal life… But it is in no way to hide or deny who God made me. Ya know?…My mama knows. My Mama likes me a lot. And yes I take her to the ‘Sound of Music’ sing-along every single year. So, any questions?” Nope. Got it. Now if only Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) was more like Ellen.