Sexual orientation has been a hot topic in Hollywood for years now. It's certainly more accepted now, thankfully, but it wasn't like that in the past. Although celebrities are role models, many have had to hide their true selves for years until it was accepted by society that heterosexuality isn't the norm. When a celebrity was thought to be "secretly gay," the tabloids would have a field day.
These 20 famous men broke the silence and came out as gay, after a life of attempting to hide their sexual orientation. They married women they held dear in their hearts, but ultimately came out of the marriage, leaving their wives for other men– finally coming out as gay without fear of what the tabloids would say. We're taking a look at some celebrities that left their wives for other men.
20 Elgin Charles
Celebrity hairstylist and TV star, Elgin Charles ended his seven-year marriage with star Jackée Harry in 2003. They remained friendly, having lived together up until 2015. Charles later came out as bisexual in 2018 in his memoir, By the Way. In an interview in 2011 on The Wendy Williams Show, he said he had many lovers, recalling us of his age and how he had done it all. He's ready to make the most of his life now!
19 Alan Cumming
After divorcing his wife, British actress Hilary Lyon, in 1993, Scottish actor Alan Cumming almost married a woman the second time around, Saffron Burrows. However, he eventually settled down with graphic artist Grant Shaffer, having married in 2007. He defines himself as bisexual, having shared a marriage with Lyon and later marrying a man.
18 Little Richard
Little Richard is one of the most controversial gay men among celebrities, mostly due to his statements on sexuality. Strangely enough, he has more than one time described homosexuals as "sick," although years later he described relationships between a man and a woman as "unnatural affection." He was married twice, once with Lee Angel in the 50s, another with Ernestine Campbell from 1959 to 1961.
His former wives denied Richard's own claims of homosexuality, but he said that he had confused his homosexuality as a preference for self-pleasure. Little Richard still struggles with his views on homosexuality, but he is no longer tied to a wife.
17 Lance Bass
Former NSYNC member Lance Bass once confessed to E! News that he was briefly married to a woman "for, like, five minutes." It was back at the beginning of 2000 that he briefly tied the knot with "a friend" in Vegas on a whim. It was simply a prank, in order to get free drinks during the night, but it didn't work. It was only in 2014 that he married artist Michael Turchin on a E! News special, making them "the first-ever same-sex couple to be married on an American television network." This time was the charm!
16 Cary Grant
Cary Grant was the subject of gay rumors his entire career, even during his marriage to actress Virginia Cherrill in 1935. In fact, he had 5 wives, up until his death in 1986. However, there was much speculation of relationships with famous costume designer Orry-Kelly and fellow actor Randolph Scott. Grant and Scott also ended up co-habiting after Scott's first marriage. Although he has always denied the rumors, it was normal back then to hide homosexuality with heterosexual marriages so celebrities wouldn't see their careers damaged.
15 Clive Davis
Clive Davis has always been very in-touch and honest about his homosexuality. He married two women during his life, and it was during his second marriage with Janet Adelberg that he had his sexual awakening, a drunken sexual encounter with a man. After that, he separated from his wife and pursued relationships with both men and women. Since 1990, Davis has been in two long-term relationships with men, though the names have never been publicly known.
14 Peter Allen
Peter Allen was once married to Liza Minelli from 1974 to 1976, but later came out as gay after the divorce, and entered a 15-year relationship with Gregory Connell. The Australian singer-songwriter inspired many other Australian artists and fans to become their true selves and come out of the closet.
13 Bryan Lourd
Bryan Lourd is a powerful agent in Hollywood who married the late actress Carrie Fisher in the 90s, having later conceived a daughter together, actress Billie Lourd. It was soon after she was born that Lourd divorced Fisher for a man, having married restaurateur Bruce Bozzi, in October 2016. Carrie Fisher and Bryan Lourd never married but they lived and functioned as a married couple. He later assumed his sexuality and is now happier than ever.
12 Elton John
Elton John came out as bisexual in an interview with Rolling Stone in 1976. 8 years after this interview, he married German sound engineer Renate Blauel, but ended up divorcing her 4 years later. He realized it had been a mistake to deny that he was actually homosexual, but he still admires his ex-wife very much, and still holds her dear in his heart. He met David Furnish in 1993 and married in the United States on the ninth anniversary of their partnership.
11 Pete Burns
Dead Or Alive frontman, Pete Burns, was married to Lynne Corlett, a hairdresser, for 28 years. They divorced in 2005 and he married Michael Simpson the very same year, though they ended up splitting in the span of 10 months. Pete Burns ended up becoming a true LGBTQ+ icon and pioneer. He passed away in 2016, in London.
10 Ty Herndon
Ty Herndon, a country singer for two decades, came out as gay in 2014, inspiring many of his fans. According to him, his two ex-wives, one of them being Renee Posey, knew about his sexuality. He also confirmed that he had been in a relationship with Matt Collum for a few years before coming out to the world.
9 Barry Manilow
Barry Manilow is a well-known singer with numerous hits in the 70s. He was briefly married to Susan Deixler from 1964 to 1966, but it was only in 2017 that Manilow announced that he and his long-time partner, his manager Garry Kief, got married in 2014, having been together for more than 40 years.
8 Jonathan Plummer
Jonathan Plummer was married to author Terry McMillan, 20 years older than him, for 7 years before divorcing in 2005, giving him the opportunity to come out as gay. He was the inspiration behind McMillan’s book How Stella Got Her Groove Back, but once they divorced, Terry sued him for emotional distress and for ruining her reputation, for the value of $40 million. Jonathan Plummer is now out of the closet and prepared to show his true self, without restrictions.
7 Richard Cromwell
Richard Cromwell was a promising actor in the 30s, who ended up passing away in 1960 due to liver cancer. He starred in Jezebel, when his career peaked, and he was married to British-American actress Angela Lansbury, but only for one year before divorcing her. He had been secretly hiding his sexuality from her and from the world. After the divorce, he was free to live his life, though he never settled down again.
6 Freddie Mercury
We all know the story of the incredibly talented Freddie Mercury. He was very private about his life and his sexuality, even when he was being bombarded with questions by the media. He had a six-year relationship with Mary Austin, before coming out as bisexual and ending the relationship. He had always wanted to keep her close, with her being his best friend. She ended up even caring for him at his deathbed in 1991. After leaving Mary, he finally settled down with Jim Hutton, who he dated until his death.
5 Dwight Eubanks
Dwight Eubanks, star of Real Housewives of Atlanta, is known for his ability to style hair and is also openly bisexual. He ended up marrying a woman a little after 2009. However, he has suggested in many interviews that he still sleeps with men. Many still say he is not bisexual, but actually gay, leaning heavily towards men.
4 Peter Marc Jacobson
Peter Marc Jacobson was married to Fran Drescher for over 20 years, even having created the show The Nanny where his wife starred in as well. After the divorce, Peter came out as gay, but the ex-couple remained incredibly close, creating the show Happily Divorced together soon after. Peter has yet to find a long-term partner, but he is living his best life since having come out.
3 John Strauss
John Strauss was a television & film composer, and music editor that married Charlotte Rae in 1951, having two children together. The marriage ended in divorce in 1976 when he came out, with Rae saying he had cheated on her with other men. He never settled down after that, and had to battle with Parkinson's disease until his passing in 2011.
2 Jason Collins
NBA player Jason Collins was engaged to WNBA Carolyn Moos when he came out of the closet publicly, a month before the wedding. The ex-couple had spent 8 years together before Collins came out, but it was better he do it before the wedding than later, after they were already married. He ended up finding happiness with Oscar-nominated producer, Brunson Green.
1 Vincent Minnelli
Vincent Minelli was Liza Minelli's father and he was married to several women in Los Angeles, including Judy Garland, Georgette Magnani, Danica "Denise" Radosavljevic, and Lee Anderson. Minelli's biographer has stated that although he lived his life as heterosexual in Los Angeles, he was openly gay in New York. The genius director hid his sexuality in Los Angeles until his passing.