Tom Daley, Anderson Cooper, Jim McGreevey & More: Seven “Straight” Men Who Came Out Of The Closet

With Olympic swimmer Tom Daley officially coming out as gay being in a relationship with a man this week, we got to thinking of all the other male public figures who once denied being gay or kept their sexuality a closely-guarded secret only to come out later on.

We’ve compiled a few of them here. Scroll down to see who made the list.

Tom Daley

It wasn’t all that long ago that Tom Daley denied gay rumors. In September, he told the Mirror, “I think it’s funny when people say I’m gay… I laugh it off… I’m not. But even if I was, I wouldn’t be ashamed. It wouldn’t bother me in the slightest what people thought.” What a difference two months makes. Over the weekend, Daley released a video to announce he is dating a man. Though he still “fancies” the ladies. Welcome to the family, Tommy boy.

Ricky Martin

Latin lust object Ricky Martin exploded onto the music scene in the late ’90s with his song Livin’ la Vida Loca paired with his mad hip-shaking skills. Though rumors that Martin was gay followed him for over a decade, he didn’t officially come out until May of 2010. In a statement released on his website, the singer said: “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.”

Clay Aiken

Not that anyone was fooled, but Clay Aiken kept his sexuality a secret until 2008. When asked if he was gay, Aiken would often brush the question off or flat out deny it. He decided to come out after becoming a father, and told People in 2008: “I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn’t raised that way, and I’m not going to raise a child to do that.”

Don Lemon

CNN anchorman Don Lemon came out in May 2011 during an interview with the New York Times. Lemon told the paper, “It’s quite different for an African-American male… It’s about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You’re taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away.” Lemon said he waited to come out because he was “scared.”

Jim McGreevey

Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey made national headlines in 2004 when he announced he had engaged in an extramarital affair with another man. His wife promptly filed for divorce then released a tell-all book about their sham marriage. Jim also released a book explaining his side of the story then went on to become an Episcopal priest. The end.

Zachary Quinto

Though Zachary Quinto never denied being gay per se, he also never spoke publicly about it until 2011 when he casually came out during an interview with New York Magazine. Since then, Quinto has gone on to be a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and youth. He’s also become the object of nearly ever gay man’s desire.

Anderson Cooper

Though he was unofficially outed by his good friend comedienne Kathy Griffin numerous times, CNN anchorman fox Anderson Cooper didn’t actually come out until July of 2012. In an email sent to Andrew Sullivan, the silver fox announced: “The fact is, I’m gay, always have been, always will be, and I couldn’t be any more happy, comfortable with myself, and proud.”

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  • Lazycrockett

    Man, talk bout red meat for the haters.

  • Rockery

    Please remove Clay Aiken from this list… he never needed to come out, in the same manner that Carson Kressley does not need to come out. Don’t be ridiculous

    Sidebar: Tom’s body in that picture HOT

  • Ruhlmann

    “It’s quite different for an African-American male… It’s about the worst thing you can be in black culture. You’re taught you have to be a man; you have to be masculine. In the black community they think you can pray the gay away.”

    What an asshole.

  • nf0603

    Cooper, Martin and Aiken surprised nobody. I don’t think they’re the best examples of guys coming out that middle America did not suspect. Many straight people knew those three were gay before they said a word.

  • sassy329

    @Ruhlmann: Just because you don’t agree with what he says does not make him an asshole. I have had countless black people-male and female -tell me that I am not a “real” black men because I am gay. Unless you’ve been there,don’t criticize. Coming out as a black person is no easier than if you are white, it just adds another layer to the experience.

  • Teleny

    @Ruhlmann: why is he an “asshole”? He was just explaining his story. We all have a different perspective on coming out.

  • Teleny

    Except for McGreevy, I think this list was of men presumed not to be str8. :)

  • sprocket

    “Though he still ‘fancies’ the ladies.”

    Oh for crying out loud!! Bisexuality really does exist.

  • mz.sam

    Queerity forgot Wentworth Miller and of course, the famous preacher, Ted Haggard. Amen!

  • Ferryboi

    Not all of us came out of the womb dressed like Lady Gaga and singing “Over the Rainbow.” For many of us, it’s a process, one that should be recognized as such. Mazel Tov to Tom.

  • Anne J. Pine

    implied I am taken by surprise that someone able to earn $6934 in one month on the computer. this website>>> iz.sg/Br

  • StephK

    Re: McGreevy.. In N.J. back then, it was the worst kept secret that he was gay.He didn’t come out of the closet..he was pushed ou tby an aggrieved “lover”.
    McGreevy is not an Episcopal priest although he attended Union Seminary in N.Y.C. He is now working heading an employment training agency in Jersey City.

  • KyleD

    It’s interesting to me that when a guy comes out as bisexual, he’s assumed to be gay. When a woman comes out as bisexual, she’s assumed to be straight. So, when some identifies as bi, only their relationships/attraction to men count. Isn’t that highly misogynistic?

    I’m bisexual and I have exclusively dated bisexual men and women. None of them were closeted gays or straights. They were all truly bisexual. I’m currently dating a bisexual woman who’s had more pussy than a toilet bowl. She isn’t bi to get attention from straight guys and I’m not bi because I’m a gay in denial lol. People are so stupid when it comes to sexuality.

  • Niall

    Can’t believe you missed Wenthworth Miller as instead of just dodging the question or not talking about it like most of the men in your list, he actually actively DENIED it.

  • Niall

    @KyleD: I understand what you’re saying in regards to people just by-passing ‘bi’ and saying someone is gay or straight, but from purely my own gut feeling/gaydar. I don’t think Tom Daley is bi, I think he’s gay and just cushioning it like Mika(who initially said he was bi then gay) did.

  • KyleD

    @Niall: Coming out as gay after identifying as bisexual doesn’t necessarily mean you’re gay. It simply means you that you are now IDENTIFYING as gay. For most men, it’s easier to identify as gay than bisexual. There are many famous men like Elton John, George Michael and Michael Stipes for example who initially identified as bisexual, then as gay but later on admitted to still being attracted to women. Bisexual men get labeled as gay by society no matter how many women they’ve fucked. I know, because I constantly have to remind my family and friends that I’m not gay. For them, if you fuck 1 guy but 25 girls, you’re still gay lol.

  • NomNomNom


    Clay actually didn’t deny it or beard. His response to the question was that it was none of your business and his sexuality doesn’t affect his ability to sing.

  • Rockery


    How is what you said related to what I said? Are you one of his dumb fans? At least have your replies make sense

  • Niall

    @KyleD: What does NOW identifying as gay even mean? That you’re gay now, but might be straight again, then back to gay?

  • sassy329

    @JAWIWA: And what would those reasons be?

  • dougmc92

    Olympic DIVER- Tom’s facebook says he’s a diver NOT A SWIMMER- so clearly he has a problem with people calling him a swimmer.

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