Gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transexual individuals started to gain more support in the 2000s. Gay actors, writers, and musicians have all publicly come out as gay since 2000. Many famous gay people came out in the media, while others used tools like Facebook and Twitter to make their announcements. This list of gay celebrities who came out in the 2000s has been loosely ranked by fame and popularity.
Who is the most famous gay celebrity who came out in the 2000s? Rosie O’Donnell tops our list. O’Donnell publicly came out in 2002 at an Ovarian Cancer Research benefit at Caroline’s Comedy Club. She has since been a fierce advocate for gay rights, same-sex marriage, and gay adoption rights.
Jodie Foster publicly came out in 2013 during her Golden Globes acceptance speech saying, “I already did my coming out about 1,000 years ago back in the stone age, those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers, and then gradually and proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met.”
Other gay celebs who recently came out include Wentworth Miller, Neil Patrick Harris, and Colton Haynes.
Do you think that the 2000s have been the easiest time to come out as gay?
Kevin Michael McHale
After being inspired by an Ariana Grande song, Glee star Kevin McHale came out as gay on Twitter in 2018.
In October 2017, Kevin Spacey came out as gay on his Twitter in response to a sexual assault allegation by actor Anthony Rapp. Most people largely saw this as a means of distracting the public from Rapp’s allegation.
In 2016, Teen Wolf and Leftovers actor Charlie Carver came out via his Instagram account. He wrote, “As a young boy, I knew I wanted to be an actor. It was around that age that I also knew, however abstractly, that I was different from some of the other boys in my grade.
Over time, this abstract ’knowing’ grew and articulated itself through a painful gestation marked by feelings of despair and alienation, ending in a climax of saying three words out loud: ’I am gay.’”
Arrow star Colton Haynes came out on Tumblr in the first few days of 2016. Rumors about the Teen Wolf actor had long swirled, but Haynes had yet to confirm them. Then, a user commented, “When I found out Colton Haynes had a secret gay past I got so excited even though I know it makes absolutely no different in my life.”
Haynes replied, “Was it a secret? Let’s all just enjoy life & have no regrets.”
Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris is openly gay. He came out to People magazine in 2006, saying, “I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly confirmed he is gay in an opinion piece published by Businessweek on October 30, 2014. The personal essay advocates for human rights and equality.
“Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.”
Jodie Foster publicly came out in 2013 during her Golden Globes acceptance speech, saying, “I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age, those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers, and then gradually and proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met.”
In 2012, Anderson Cooper publicly came out in a statement that said, “I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something—something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed, or even afraid.
This is distressing because it is simply not true… 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.” He has been dating Benjamin Maisani since 2009.
‘N Sync singer Lance Bass came out as gay in 2006 to People magazine. He said, “The thing is, I’m not ashamed – that’s the one thing I want to say. I don’t think it’s wrong, I’m not devastated going through this. I’m more liberated and happy than I’ve been my whole life. I’m just happy.”
Zachary Quinto publicly came out in 2011 in an interview with New York magazine. He supports several gay rights organizations.
Chris Colfer has been “out and proud” since he first appeared on Glee in 2009.
George Takei officially announced that he was gay in Frontiers magazine in 2002. He has since become a popular champion for gay rights. He married his longtime partner Brad Altman in 2008.
Sean Hayes is best known for his portrayal of Jack on the hit show Will & Grace. He doesn’t like to speak publicly about his private life and when asked why, Hayes replied, “I feel like I’ve contributed monumentally to the success of the gay movement in America, and if anyone wants to argue that, I’m open to it.”
He publicly came out in 2010, and as recently as 2013 has said that he regrets waiting so long to publicly acknowledge his sexuality.
Rosie O’Donnell publicly came out in 2002 at an Ovarian Cancer Research benefit at Caroline’s Comedy Club. She has since been a fierce advocate for gay rights, same-sex marriage, and gay adoption rights.
Ricky Martin came out as gay in 2010. He wrote a statement on his website, saying, “these years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within, and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.”
He has since become an outspoken advocate for gay rights and same-sex marriage.
In 2013, Raven-Symone released a statement saying, “I was excited to hear today that more states legalized gay marriage. I, however am not currently getting married, but it is great to know I can now, should I wish to.”
Portia de Rossi
Actress Portia de Rossi is a supporter of gay rights and same-sex marriage. She married talk show host Ellen Degeneres in 2008. She first came out when tabloid photos of her with then-girlfriend Francesca Gregorini were published in the tabloids in 2004.
Prison Break actor Wentworth Miller came out in 2013 by posting an open letter on the GLAAD website in which he declined an invitation to attend a Russian film festival because of their anti-gay laws.
In 2012, The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons publicly came out in a feature article in New Yorkmagazine. He has been in a relationship with Todd Spiewak for over 10 years.
American Idol alum Clay Aiken announced that he was gay in 2008 to People magazine. He has been an advocate for stopping anti-gay bullying in schools. He is even running for Congress in his home state of North Carolina to continue to fight for gay rights and behalf of children with disabilities.
In 2013, news anchor Robin Roberts publicly announced that she was gay via a Facebook post, which stated, “At this moment I am at peace and filled with joy and gratitude. I am grateful to God, my doctors and nurses for my restored good health… I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.”
She has been with her partner Amber Laign for over 10 years.
Wanda Sykes publicly came out at a same-sex marriage rally in 2008. She married her wife, Alex, earlier that year and the couple have two children together.
American Idol alum Adam Lambert let the world know he was gay in a 2009 interview with Rolling Stone, after the reality competition had come to an end. He has since been an inspiration to the gay community all over the world for not shying away from any aspect of himself.
He has even pushed the envelope, kissing a male keyboardist during the American Music Awards.
T. R. Knight
Grey’s Anatomy actor T.R. Knight confirmed that he was gay in a 2006 interview with People magazine. He married his partner Patrick Leahy in 2013.
Cynthia Nixon released a statement through her publicist in 2007 confirming that she was dating a woman. Nixon married Christine Marinoni in 2012.
The Biggest Loser coach Jillian Michaels first addressed her sexuality in a 2010 interview with Ladies Home Journal where she stated, “If I fall in love with a woman, that’s awesome. If I fall in love with a man, that’s awesome. As long as you fall in love… It’s like organic food. I only eat healthy food, and I only want healthy love.”
She and her partner Heidi Rhoades have two children together.
Roseanne actress Sara Gilbert quietly came out in 2010. She is currently engaged to 4 Non Blondessinger Linda Perry.
David Hyde Pierce
David Hyde Pierce is best known for his portrayal of the character of Niles Crane on Frasier. He publicly came out in 2007. He married Brian Hargrove, his partner of over 20 years, in 2008.
NBA player Jason Collins came out as gay in an interview with Sports Illustrated magazine in 2013. He is the first active athlete to come out as gay in any of the major American sports.
His announcement provoked mixed reactions from his fellow players and the media.
Actress Kristy McNichol came out in an interview with People magazine in 2012. She stated that she “is very sad about kids being bullied… and she hopes that coming out can help kids who need support.”
R.E.M. front man Michael Stipe described himself as a queer artist to Time magazine in 2008, stating, “I think there’s a line drawn between gay and queer, and for me, queer describes something that’s more inclusive of the grey areas.”
He has been an advocate for AIDS research since the early 90s.
In 2004, actress Heather Matarazzo came out to the New York Daily News, saying “I met the person I’m so madly, crazy in love with. She’s not famous yet. She will be. She wants to do musical theater and stage, which is not as demoralizing as the movie business is.”
In 2013, A History of Violence actress Maria Bello revealed that she was gay in an essay in the New York Times. She is in a relationship with Clare Munn.
Today Show anchor Jenna Wolfe publicly came out during the show in 2013. She and her partner Stephanie Gosk have a daughter together.
Family Ties actress Meredith Baxter came out in 2009 during an interview on the Today Show. She married her partner Nancy Locke in 2013.
New Kids on the Block singer Jonathan Knight was publicly outed by pop star Tiffany in 2011. Knight didn’t mind, saying “I have never been outed by anyone but myself. I did so almost twenty years ago. I never knew that I would have to do it all over again publicly, just because I reunited with NKOTB. I have lived my life very openly and have never hidden the fact that I am gay.”
The Biggest Loser coach Bob Harper publicly came out during a 2013 episode of the popular reality show. He named his dog Karl after the gay icon fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.