The Empire star came out after an interview with Ellen DeGeneres about playing a gay character on the Fox hip-hop drama. Wishing to clarify some comments he made in the interview, Smollett pulled Ellen backstage and said, ""There's never been a closet that I've been in. I choose not to talk about my personal life. But there is, without a doubt, no closet that I've ever been in, and I just wanted to make that clear. ... When I say that I don't talk about my personal life, I'm saying that, but it is in no way to hide or deny who God made me. My Mama knows. My Mama likes me a lot ... and yes, I take her to the Sound of Music sing-along every year."