Unlike in previous decades, today’s celebrities are more expressive about their sexual orientation.
Legendary heart throb Cary Grant lived in secrecy with his long-time boyfriend for 12 years, afraid of what it would do to his career if it became known to the public that he was gay. Today, celebrities are free to share with their fans the loves of their lives, rightfully without any shame or embarrassment.
One of the successful female singers and songwriters in history, Melissa Etheridge has sold over 27 million records around the globe. Winner of both Grammy and Emmy awards, this outspoken artist is also known for her advocacy of gay rights and has spoken out openly in defense of same gender marriage, particularly in California. Not surprising, as she chose to come out about her own sexual orientation and ongoing relationship with another female at the 1993 inaugural ball of former president Bill Clinton.
Ricky Martin, former member of the ’80’s boy band Menudo, shocked fans when he admitted to being gay in 2010. In a heart felt letter on his website, the father of twin boys talked of freeing himself as he announced to the world that he had been living a lie. Although he is best known for his pop sensations, Ricky Martin is also the founder of a successful child advocacy program which fights for the rights of children all over the world. Today he is sharing his life with his longtime partner and their children.
A native of Louisiana, Ellen Degeneres began her climb to fame as a comedian who worked the nightclub scene for most of the early ‘80’s. As her fame grew she landed a few supporting roles in prime time television before hitting it big with Ellen, which ran on ABC from 1994 to 1998. It was here that she made T.V. history by being the first show to have its main character announce that they were gay not long after she herself made that admission in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey. Today Ellen is a highly successful host of her own television talk show as well as an advocate for a number of important causes, including The U.S. Humane Society. Ellen and her wife Portia de Rossi have been candid about their relationship for years.
Neil Patrick Harris
A rarity in Hollywood, this one time child star has continued his climb to fame with a successful career in television. While most will remember him for his role as womanizer Barry Stinson on the hit T.V. show How I Met Your Mother, this Tony award winning actor started his television career in 1989 playing a child doctor. Considered to be one of the most influential faces in Hollywood, Neil Patrick Harris came out in 2006 by announcing that he was proud to be a content gay man who was living his life to the fullest. He still does, with his partner of 8 years and their twin toddlers.
As a lead actor in the highly successful The Big Bang Theory, Jim Parsons has been both delighting and annoying fans since 2007. Before that he had played a few recurring roles on other popular T.V. series but got the majority of his acting experience in on and off Broadway productions. In a true testament to the way in which Hollywood now considers its growing gay community, Jim was outed with little concern to his fans by The New York Times in 2012. To this his only comment is on how his relationship with his longtime partner is a boring one, but one of love.
The shift in American’s reactions to their beloved celebrities’ love lives has changed dramatically, even in just the last 20 years. As we see more celebrities being open and frank about their same gender relationships, other gay and lesbian Americans are encouraged to open up about their own sexuality and live with pride with the person they are in love with.