Hang onto your lug nuts, NASCAR fans. Jeff Gordon isn’t gay.
Fake sports news website Empire Sports got the internet all hot and bothered when its story about Gordon being in a relationship with openly gay fellow driver Stephen Rhodes went viral, generating over 2,000 comments. They range from the supportive:
“Doesn’t matter if it is true or not, Jeff has a right to his personal preferences. Doesn’t change who is now or has been or how he does his job.”
To the disheartening (though not shocking):
“This can not be true!!!! Jeff is too good of a man to be like that”
“jeff Gordon GET OUT OF NASCAR!!!! I will never buy anything that sponsors his car. yuck”
To the comically tangential:
“my daughter went to school with him”
Well how nice for your daughter.
Though the truth wasn’t exactly tough to unravel here, it got us thinking about how other (supposedly) straight celebrities have dealt with gay rumors. Here’s how they stack up.
JFK’s Grandson Jack
Rumors that JFK’s only grandson, John Bouvier Kennedy Schlossberg (a.k.a. “Jack”), had come out as gay in an article published on Yale’s blog The Bulldog had everyone in a tizzy. The announcement was made from Schlossberg’s own Twitter account, so it seemed authentic. And let’s face it: This is one we really, really wanted to believe.
But the joke was on us.
Hours after the story broke, Gawker reported it was a hoax. It published an email from Jack that read: “The article was written by someone who impersonates me online. I did not write the article and, for the record, am not gay. Thanks.”
Shortly after that, the bogus Twitter account was deleted. BTW, we still hope Jack is gay.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
The National Enquirer was duped by an impostor who claimed New York-based playwright David Bar Katz and Hoffman were lovers who free-based cocaine on the eve of Hoffman’s death. It started a wave of faulty speculation across the internet — a wave we admittedly rode before quickly setting the story straight, so to speak.
The real Katz took legal action against the Enquirer and received a settlement to set up a foundation in Hoffman’s honor to award grants to up and coming playwrights. The exact sum of the settlement is undisclosed, but Katz says, ““It’s enough for the foundation to give out these grants for years to come.”
Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson
Gay rumors and One Direction go together like Paula Abdul and a prescription pad. The pint-sized stars give plenty of ammo for the world to keep wondering, and frankly, we’re still holding out hope that at least one of them pulls a Lance Bass.
But that doesn’t mean they aren’t bothered by the constant questioning. In an interview with Tumblr’s Storyboard, 20-year-old Tomlinson expressed a bit of grief, saying:
“This is a subject that was funny at first but now is actually hard to deal with…Me and Harry are best friends. People look into our every move — it is actually affecting the way me and Harry are in public. We want to joke around, but there seems to be a different rumour every time we do anything. I act the same way with Harry as I do any of the other boys.”
And how do you act with the other boys, Louis?
Ja was released from prison last May after serving two consecutive sentences for illegal gun possession and tax evasion. And if you believe the rumors, he also met the man of his dreams behind bars.
He took to Twitter to clear the air, tweeting: “Ok I guess I have to address the idiots these rumors are FALSE LIES made up by some non mf factor website CLOWNS lmao…”
Still feeling unsatisfied by the persistent claims (maybe he’s overcompensating?) he posted this photo shortly thereafter:
James gets a gold star for being the source of his own gay rumors. We kind of love him for it.
He created a series of internet tabloid-esque scandals, complete with Perez Hilton-style notations. If anything they make him seem straighter (and hotter) for being so comfortable with his sexuality. It’s still nice to wonder though…
Matthew McConaughey became the subject of gay rumors when he developed a close friendship with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. When asked if they were an item, McConaughey joked: “We tried it. Wasn’t for us.” We were, naturally, devastated to hear this.
The Biebs is the perfect candidate for gay rumors, and he’s had his fair share of them. This photo was released this year supposedly showing the pint-sized star locking lips with another dude. It’s pretty clearly a fake, but if you squint your eyes and tilt your head slightly to the right, it’s right on the money.
Back in 2011 this image made the rounds, generating lots of understandable attention. Taylor had just recently made a name for himself with the first Twilight film, and he had more than a few (million) questioning his preferences.
We’re still questioning even though the cover was immediately debunked.
Trey Songz (the musician behind “Bottoms Up,” “Does He Do It” and a video filled with shirtless men) was another hoax victim when a tweet went viral supposedly announcing that he’s gay:
The real Trey took to Twitter shortly thereafter:
Enough said, but damn, we wish it were true.