10 Celebs Who Opened Up About Coming Out Later In Life

·5 min read

Being queer is not a choice. Coming out is a choice. No one is entitled to know about a person's identity, even if they are public figures. Coming out at any point in your life is valid. Here are 10 public figures who publicly came out later in life:

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1.Rebel Wilson

2.Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes smiling

Comedian and Actress Wanda Sykes publicly came out at age 44, following her wedding to girlfriend Alex with whom she has twins. She revealed that she had "repressed." "I chose to be straight," Sykes told Oprah during a 2013 episode of Oprah's Next Chapter.

"I remember I was in the third grade, and I told one of my brother’s girlfriend’s sisters, 'I wish I was a boy because then I could be your boyfriend.' She was like, 'What!? No, no. You do not like girls, you like boys, and that’s bad. That’s not right.' She was much older. I just remember the way she said it and the way she looked at me. I was like, 'Oh, okay. So this is a bad thing.' I knew then to never say that again, to never say that I liked girls. I made note of that, and that’s just how I lived my life well into my early 20s," she revealed.

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3.George Takei

George Takei smiling at the camera

Star Trek alumni George Takei came out at the age of 68 and got married to his long-time partner, Brad Altman, in 2008. In an interview with Esquire, he revealed that for him coming out is a process. "The term 'coming out' makes it seem like it was instantaneous: You've been closeted, you open the door, you step out. It's not. There's a slow discovery. It's that narrow, darkened corridor that gets lighter as you learn more information," he explained.

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4.Joel Grey

Joel Grey, star of stage and screen in discussion with Kevin Sessums at Curran: Under Construction at the Curran Theater

In 2015, Broadway legend Joel Grey came out as gay at the age of 82. "All the people close to me have known for years who I am," Grey told People. "[Yet] it took time to embrace that other part of who I always was."

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5.Cynthia Nixon

Cynthia Nixon attends "The Gilded Age" FYC screening at the Whitby Hotel

The Sex and the City star came out as bisexual at the age of 38 in 2004. In an interview with Attitude, she opened up about her sexuality and love life. "Falling in love with my wife was one of the great delights and surprises of my life, but it didn’t seem like I became a whole new person, or like some door had been unlocked,” she said. "It was like: ‘I have fallen in love with different people in my life, and they’ve all been men before. Now, this is a woman, and she is amazing.'"

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6.Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster looking at the camera

Jodie Foster came out as gay during her 2013 Golden Globes Award Acceptance speech at the age of 50.

"I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the stone age. In those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family, coworkers, and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her. To everyone she actually met. But now, apparently, I'm told, that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a primetime reality show. You guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo child," she declared.

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7.Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O' Donnell performing on stage

In 2002, Rosie O'Donnell came out as gay at the age of 40 just after O’Donnell played a lesbian mom on Will & Grace.

"When I came out on TV after 9/11, it was like a blip, nobody even...but I, like you, Emily, was surprised that people thought I was not gay," she says. "I went to a comedy club, and I was doing stand-up, and I'm like, "I'm gay. Listen, 9/11 happened, I'm gay. I'm telling you all, I'm gay. In case the buildings blow up again, I'm so, so gay,' you know?" the comedian revealed about her coming out on an episode of Red Table Talk: The Estefans.

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8.Anderson Cooper

Cooper in casuals with a coffee in his hand

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper came out as gay in 2012, at the age of 45. Opening up about his coming out and sexuality, Cooper said in a Q&A session Monday on CNN's Full Circle that he knew he was "different" from the age of 6 or 7. "I think I really, truly accepted it — and not just accepted it, but fully embraced it and came around to really loving the fact that I was gay — would probably be right after college," he said.

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9.Richard Chamberlain

Richard Chamberlain looking at the camera

Richard Chamberlain came out as gay at the age of 69 in 2003 through his autobiography, Shattered Love: A Memoir. In the book, he talks about having to hide his sexuality to protect his privacy and career.

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10.David Hyde Pierce

David Hyde Pierce looking away from the camera

David Hyde Pierce came out as gay at the age of 48 while accepting his Tony Award for Curtains by thanking his partner of 24 years.

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