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It appears that one of the breakout and most important actors on FOX’s booming Empire show has been killing his part thanks in part to real-life experiences.

In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres while backstage at her show, Jussie Smollet revealed that he is gay just like his on-screen character, Jamal Lyons, and confirms he has never been in hiding about it.

After thanking Ellen for her advocacy in the LGBT community, Smollet laid it all out there in the open.

“There’s never been a closet. That I’ve been in. 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,” he began. “So that’s why I choose not to talk about my personal life. But there is without a doubt, no closet that I’ve ever been in, and I just wanted to make that clear, but it was most important for me to make that clear to you on your show at this time in the world. And that’s where I’m at. … So, let’s not read into it in the wrong way when I say that I don’t talk about my personal life, I’m saying that. But it is in no way to hide or deny who God made me. You 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? But honestly, we’re human and we love and we do all that good stuff. So I’m honored for this opportunity and I’m honored to be here with you.”

Series creator Lee Daniels, who is also homosexual, has said certain aspects of the Jamal character were based on his own upbringing.

“Now y’all don’t have to ask no more,” a smiling Jussie concluding his soul-baring interview with. “I told Ellen. Who else I gotta tell?”

Watch Jussie Smollet’s classy post-interview in the video player below.


Photo: Ellen