As the breakout star of Fox's record-breaking series "Empire," Jussie Smollett made a decision to keep his private life, well, private. That is, until today.
In a new interview with Ellen DeGeneres -- taped in the green room of DeGeneres' daytime talk show -- Smollett, who plays Lucious (Terrence Howard) and Cookie's (Taraji P. Henson) openly gay son Jamal on "Empire," addressed the ongoing rumors surrounding his sexuality. "There's never been a closet. That I’ve been in," the 31-year-old actor told DeGeneres.
"It was really important to me to make sure that it got across that there is no closet," Jussie said. "I don’t own a closet, I got a dresser, but I don’t have a closet, but I have a home and that is my responsibility to protect that home."
The backstage interview happened after Smollett wrapped his studio appearance, during which he skirted around a question about his personal life. After the taping, the actor knocked on DeGeneres' door and asked to film a follow-up segment. Although Smollett never said the words "I'm gay," he did admit to never having been in any closet.
"There are questions out there so I think that's why it was my responsibility to at least give you the opportunity," Ellen replied. "And I am so proud of you that you say there is no closet there never has been a closet. You’ve never pretending to be anything that you aren’t."
Smollett's sexuality was most recently called into question after his "Empire" co-star Malik Yoba publicly outed him during an interview with BlackFilm.com. According to Yoba, he was misquoted, but that didn't stop the media from making it a headline. For Smollett (and his mom), however, his sexuality is NBD.
"My mama knows," he said. "My Mama likes me a lot. And yes I take her to the 'Sound of Music' sing-along every, single year. So, any questions? But you know, honestly, we’re humans and we love and we do all that good stuff."
We're happy that Smollett is coming out on his own terms and couldn't be more proud of him for handling this whole situation with grace. And for the record, we are so down for a "Sound of Music" sing-along. Watch Smollett's full interview below: