Some people come out of the closet early in life and some take a while to either realize their orientation or to be public about it. While being under the LGBTQ+ umbrella is much more accepted today, it wasn't easy to be out and proud in the past. Fortunately, society has become much more accepting of different lifestyles and many people who identify as queer have been able to live the life they want to live without judgment--at least most of the time. There are still people out there who haven't accepted the LGBTQ+ community but that is quickly changing with every passing year. It's hard to believe that gay marriage was only legalized in the United States in 2015!
There is still discrimination and hatred toward the LGBTQ+ community in our society today but the fact that there are so many celebrities who have come out of the closet and so many more LGBTQ+ characters on TV and in the movies, the stigma behind it is fading. Not only are there countless of celebs who identify as queer, there are also some parents of celebs who have been able to come out of the closet as well. While some of these coming out stories are happy and uplifting, some will give you an idea of just how stigmatized the LGBTQ+ community has been in the past and how difficult it was to identify as anything other than straight. These are the celebrity parents who are out and proud...and some who never actually came out of the closet.
15 Jay Z Wrote a Song About His Mother Coming Out
While Jay Z occasionally shares details from his life in his music, he generally keeps his private life out of the public eye. He seems to get that from his mother. Gloria Carter kept her orientation a secret for years and when she finally came out to him, it inspired the rapper to write about her in one of his 4:44 tracks “Smile”. In an interview, Gloria detailed the conversation that she had with her famous son: “Me and my son, we share a lot of information. I was sitting there and I was telling him one day, I just finally started telling him who I was. Besides your mother, this is the person that I am. This is the life that I live.” The fact that she had to hide the fact that she was a lesbian was for so long actually brought her son to tears and he was so inspired by her story that he felt that he had to write about it.
14 Amy Adams Was Raised Mormon...Until Her Mom Came Out
When Amy Adams was growing up, she had to follow a lot of rules because she was raised as a Mormon by her parents. However, when she was eleven years old, her mother, Kathryn Adams, and father got a divorce and Kathryn's lifestyle completely changed. She moved in with her openly gay girlfriend and became a semi-professional bodybuilder! Amy has seven siblings in all and they lived with their father after the split but a few years later, four of them, including Amy, was so heartbroken about the divorce that they left home and the Mormon church to live with friends. Though her mother's coming out was difficult for her to process when she was young, she has since come to accept it. Though the two have had some turbulent moments in the past, the Arrival actress appears to be very close to both her mother and her father now.
13 Mandy Moore Has A Unique Family
Mandy Moore plays the matriarch to an unconventional family in NBC's emotional series, This is Us, and her Moore's own mother was the matriarch of her own unconventional family--but in real life. Moore's mother, Stacey, was married to her father for over two decades before they divorced in 2008 and Stacey began dating a woman--and Moore says she supports her mother completely. The 47 Meters Down star has also been very open about the fact that her two brothers are both out and proud and that "nobody is hiding who they are" and they don't keep any secrets from each other. In an interview with People magazine, she said "I love and support my mom and my brothers with my whole heart. And nothing makes me happier than seeing anybody live their authentic self, and to choose love. If anyone can find love, I support it, I salute you and I celebrate that.”
12 Robert De Niro's Father Felt Afflicted by His Orientation
Many people don't know that Robert De Niro is actually Robert De Niro, Jr. and his father, an abstract expressionist artist, was Robert De Niro Sr. The 2014 HBO documentary Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro, Senior not only pays tribute to the artist but also reveals the struggles he had with both his art and his orientation. He actually came out of the closet in 1943 and had a relationship with had a relationship with the poet Robert Duncan in 1944. Still, coming out in the 40s was not easy and he even referred to his orientation as an "affliction." Though the Taxi Driver star did not fully understand his father's lifestyle until he was older, he says that now that he understands and respects his father for the struggle he went through in his life. The two did not always get along while he was alive but De Niro says he greatly admires him.
11 Carrie Brownstein and Her Father Are Out and Proud
In Carrie Brownstein's Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, she gives some insight on her father's coming out story. According to Brownstein, her father struggled with his orientation for years and was finally able to come out to her in 1998. However, in one of the Portlandia star's essays, she wrote about how her father came out to his mother and she replied by saying, “You waited for your father to die, why couldn’t you have waited for me to die?” Brownstein wrote that when she heard her grandmother say that, she knew then that she never wanted to make anyone feel like they couldn't be honest about who they are. Brownstein identifies as bi and she was outed by Spin before she had even been able to tell her family about her orientation. She said in an interview that her father didn't know anything about her orientation and it felt like the "ground was pulled out from underneath" her.
10 Jessica Simpson's Father Went From Youth Minister to Gay Model Photographer
Joe Simpson became famous for commenting on his own daughter's (Jessica Simpson) bosom, saying "She's got double D's! You can't cover those suckers up!” Surprisingly, Joe Simpson was once a Baptist youth pastor and he and his wife, Tina, raised Jessica with very strict Christian rules. However, Joe and Tina got divorced in 2013 and it soon came out that the reason for the divorce was because Joe was cheating on his wife with young male models. Simpson had long given up his job as a pastor and became a photographer, often photographing gay male models. Joe has never publicly come out of the closet but Jessica's ex-husband Nick Lachey once alluded to the fact that his father-in-law had made advances toward him while he was still married to the The Dukes of Hazzard star. Regardless of his orientation, his behavior is very, very creepy.
9 Rob McElhenney Has Two Moms
Rob McElhenney plays the ambiguously (and sometimes not so ambiguously) gay Mac on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (which he also created) but he isn't actually gay in real life--in fact, he's married to his co-star Kaitlyn Olson. However, his mother is actually a lesbian and his parents divorced when he was just eight years old. He was raised partly by his father and partly by his mother along with her long-term girlfriend. He is close to both of his parents and his parents remain close to each other as well. McElhenney may play a homophobic character on the FX show and though he loves the two women who helped raise him and he is pro-gay marriage, he says that the show is not the "type of show that lends itself to making political statements besides this is something that we should be talking about, that on both sides of the issue are human beings and that the less we treat each other as human beings, the harder it is going to be to find resolution.”
8 Victoria's Secret Model Josephine Skriver Has a Lesbian Mother and a Gay Father
Victoria Secret model Josephine Skriver had a unique upbringing. Not only was she conceived via IVF, she was actually raised by a lesbian mother and gay father. Skriver's mother always wanted to have a child and she decided to put an ad in an LGBTQ newsletter in Denmark saying "I want to bring a child into this world, does anyone want to be a part of that?" The first person who contacted her ended up being her father. At the time she was born, her father was married to a man and because they didn't like the terms "step-dad" or "step-mom" because they had gotten a bad stigma from Disney movies, they used the term Bonus Mom and Bonus Dad. According to Skriver, "I grew up with a mom, a dad, and a bonus set of parents." Though people may think her upbringing is strange, she says she feels blessed to be apart of her family.
7 Jodie Foster Called Her Second Mom Her Aunt
For years, people speculated that Jodie Foster is a lesbian even though she hadn't come out publicly--at least not officially. Many people consider her 2013 acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award was a coming out speech but she never actually used the words "gay" or "lesbian" at all in her speech. Foster has never been ashamed of her orientation but considering she has spent the majority of her life in the public eye, it's understandable that she would want to keep her private life to herself. Foster married a woman, Alexandra Hedison, in 2014 but not everyone makes a grand coming out speech--and some feel they shouldn't have to. Foster's mother, Evelyn, and her father divorced before she was even born. Evelyn Foster raised her four children, including her daughter Jodie, with her longtime girlfriend. Jodie referred to her second mother as "aunt."
6 Billie Lourd Is Living In A Hollywood Modern Family
Billie Lourd comes from a family of iconic celebrities. Her mother is Carrie Fisher and her grandmother is Debbie Reynolds--both of which are Hollywood royalty. Her father, Bryan Lourd, is a talent agent who also happens to be gay. Once when Billie told her mother that she wanted to be a comic, Fisher replied by saying, "You have plenty of material. Your father's gay, your mother is a manic depressive, your grandmother tap-dances for a living." Fisher also said that Lourd didn't tell her that he was gay because he thought that "he'd be able to change" and he wanted to have a child. According to the iconic Star Wars star, she may not have known her husband's orientation but all of the signs were there. "All my early crushes were on gay men, my first kiss was from a gay man," she said. "So falling in love with Bryan wasn't completely outside my weird repertoire."
5 For Jena Malone, Having Two Moms Was Awesome
While many of the parents on this list had to stay in the closet for the majority of their lives, Jena Malone's mother, Deborah, has been out and proud for years and actually raised her daughter with her partner. According to The Hunger Games star, she loved her childhood: "I had two moms, and it was awesome. Double the pleasure! The more love you have as a child, the better,” she said. Malone affectionately refers to as her mother's partner as “Godmom" and she didn't think that it was abnormal at all to be raised by two women. In fact, she said in an interview that she thought it was exciting to have two moms because most of her friends liked their mom more than their dad and she would say, "Ha! I've got two of them!" She seems to have a very special relationship with both her mom and her Godmom.
4 Jennifer Grey's Dad Didn't Come Out Until He Was 82
Jennifer Grey is known for her roles in Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Dirty Dancing but she is also well known for her famous father, Broadway legend and Academy Award winner Joel Grey. Though Joel was married to Jennifer's mother for twenty-four years (a period which he calls "the happiest of my life", he kept his orientation a secret for decades. In 2015 when he was 82 years old, he finally came out in an interview with People magazine, saying, "I don’t like labels, but if you have to put a label on it, I’m a gay man." In order to give an idea of what it was like to be gay in the 40s and 50s, Grey explained that he would hear adults talking "derisively about ‘fairies’ and men being dragged off to jail and even worse for being who they were.” Jennifer supported her father and said that she is "very happy" that he has been able to come out and that everyone should "love who you love."
3 Judy Garland, Like Mother Like Daughter
Judy Garland was always destined to be in show business since she was born to two performers who appeared in vaudeville acts in the 1920s. Though her parents worked in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, they had to move to California when Judy was only five because her father, Frances Gumm, got in trouble for making advances toward male ushers. In California, Gunn purchased and operated a theater while his wife, Ethel, tried to get her three daughters into show business. While the Meet Me In St. Louis star was in California with her family, rumors still followed her father though he never came out publicly--very few people were able to come out during that time. He was hospitalized for meningitis and died while Judy made her radio debut when she was 13. Oddly enough, she eventually married a man who was very much like her father: a stage director who was secretly gay.
2 Liza Minnelli's Father Tried To Hide His Orientation For His Career
Liza Minnelli's father, Academy Award-winning director, Vincent Minnelli, was openly gay when he was working in New York, according to his biographer Emanuel Levy, he tried to repress that part of himself when he left New York to work in Hollywood. The director was married four times, most famously to Judy Garland but he divorced Garland when their daughter Liza was only five years old but she remained close to both of them the rest of their lives. It is still unknown whether or not the director was gay or bi but he was known in Hollywood to have relationships with men even while he was married. According to Liza, "My mother gave me my drive, but my father gave me my dreams." Considering she became a successful actress and singer, it seems like her parents' encouragement definitely helped her!
1 Natasha Richardson's Father and Grandfather Swung Both Ways
It took decades for Natasha Richardson's father Tony Richardson (an Academy Award-winning director) to publicly acknowledge that he was bi and it was until after he contracted HIV. After he passed away due to related health complications in 1991, his daughter Natasha became actively involved in charities and even became a member of the board of trustees for The Foundation for AIDS Research. Before she passed away in 2009 from a skiing accident, she said that her father taught her "to not always take the safe road, the easy road" and she was very inspired by her father. Oddly enough, Natasha's mother Vanessa Redgrave's father who was also an actor was also bi. Redgrave never publicly came out of the closet but it was known in Hollywood that he had relationships with both men and women.