15 Gay Celebrities Who “Came Out” Later in Life
by Jennifer Lafferty
These days most gay celebrities “come out of the closet” as young adults, but, of course, that hasn’t always been the case. Many gay stars kept their sexual preference a secret for fear of damaging their personal life or career. As a result of changing times, a number of these celebs have chosen to come out later in life; here are 15 who came out when they were middle-aged or older.
At the age of 68, Star Trek alumni George Takei revealed he was gay, following much speculation. Despite the delay in his announcement, Takei is clearly very comfortable in his sexuality and works a number for gay causes. He married his partner in 2008.
Although Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon had been in a long term relationship with the father of her first two children, she confirmed in 2004 at age 38, that she was dating a woman. Her partner, whom she married in 2012, gave birth to a son in 2011.
Sexy Latin singer Ricky Martin avoided discussing his sexuality for years but in 2010, at age 38, Martin confirmed that he was gay, explaining his decision to come out was partially inspired by his sons.
While accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2013, the very private actress/filmmaker Jodie Foster revealed she was gay, thanking her former partner, with whom she’d been raising their two sons. Foster married actress/photographer Alexandra Hedison in 2014.
British actor Ian McKellen (X-Men), who announced he was gay at 49, was compelled to come out because he was angry about an anti-gay law in the U.K. McKellen has since been involved with an organization that supports gay youth.
CNN hottie Anderson Cooper has attracted countless male and female admirers over the years but it was a surprise to many when he revealed in 2012, at the age of 45, that he was gay.
Popular small screen actor Richard Chamberlain announced he was gay at 69 in his autobiography Shattered Love. He describes the anguish of hiding his sexuality to protect his career. He has since played gay characters in TV and film.
Comedian and actress Wanda Sykes knew early on that she was gay, but lived as a straight woman for many years, even marrying record producer David Hall in the ’90s. She publicly came out at age 44, following her wedding to girlfriend Alex with whom she has twins.
At age 82, Broadway legend Joel Grey opened up about his sexuality. Grey, who was married for 24 years and is the father of actress Jennifer Grey, dosen’t like labels but confirms that he is gay.
Rosie O’Donnell waited until the end of her popular talk show to confirm rumors she was gay. The announcement came at age 40, just after O’Donnell played a lesbian mom on Will & Grace. O’Donnell’s second same sex marriage recently ended. She has several adopted children.
62-year-old Meredith Baxter (Family Ties) had three failed heterosexual marriages before announcing, in 2009, that she was a lesbian, a fact she didn’t discover herself until 2002. The mother of five married her current partner in 2013.
Like many young gay celebrities, Jane Lynch feared revealing her sexuality when she was younger. Although the former Glee star did not actively hide the fact that she’s a lesbian as an adult, it was not widely known until her forties. She divorced her partner of three years in 2014.
Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts outed herself in 2013, at age 53, when she posted a Facebook message thanking her girlfriend of over eight years, massage therapist Amber Laign, for supporting her during a bone marrow transplant.
Best known as “the second Darrin” on TV’s Bewitched, Dick Sargent came out in 1991 at age 61, following tabloid reports that his prostate cancer was AIDS-related. Former co-star Elizabeth Montgomery rode with Sargent when he was Grand Marshal of the Los Angeles Gay Pride parade in 1992.
David Hyde Pierce
Like a number of other celebrities, David Hyde Pierce (Frasier) chose to come out during an acceptance speech. In 2007, the 48-year-old actor thanked his partner of 24 years while accepting a Tony for Curtins. They were married in 2008.