These days, gay celebrities are lauded when they come out of the closet, but unfortunately, it hasn’t always been that easy. Just a decade ago, many celebs were virtually shoved out of the closet after intense tabloid rumors, sneaky paparazzi photos, and other awkward situations. From journalist Anderson Cooper to actor Neil Patrick Harris, find out who came out under the brightest of spotlights.
British pop star George Michael was forced to come out on national television just days after an undercover cop caught him allegedly performing a lewd act in a park bathroom in Beverly Hills in 1998.
American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken finally came out following a long and rather awkward feud between talk show hosts Kelly Ripa and Rosie O’Donnell.
In a 2006 cover story for People, former NSYNC member Lance Bass officially came out after years of rumors about his sexuality.
Neil Patrick Harris
Actor Neil Patrick Harris was another celebrity who fell victim to Perez Hilton’s bullying in 2006.
Lance Bass isn’t the only boy band crooner who was pushed out of the closet. The same thing happened to former New Kids on the Block member Jonathan Knight in 2011 after ’80s icon Tiffany accidentally revealed his sexuality on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live.
Portia de Rossi
Arrested Development alum Portia de Rossi was forced to address her sexuality after paparazzi snapped photos of her and then-girlfriend, Francesca Gregorini.
Grey’s Anatomy star T.R. Knight came out following an alleged scuffle between co-stars Patrick Dempsey and Isaiah Washington, during which Washington allegedly fired off a gay slur directed at Knight. “I guess there have been a few questions about my sexuality, and I’d like to quiet any unnecessary rumors that may be out there,”
n. “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,” Cooper wrote.