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"But there are questions out there, so I think that's why it was my responsibility to at least give you the opportunity.
And I am so proud of you that you say there is no closet, there never has been a closet.
He was just Michael, and you're just Ellen." Alluding to the speculation about his sexuality, he continued: "It was really important to me to make sure that it got across that there is no closet.
There's never been a closet that I've been in.
After his on-screen alter ego Jamal Lyon used music to come out publicly as gay on a recent episode of Fox's hit hip-hop drama, fans began to speculate about Smollett's own sexuality.
"So let's not read into it the wrong way when I say that I don't talk about my personal life.
PHOTOS: Stars' coming-out stories "That's why I choose not to talk about my personal life," he shared.
"But there is, without a doubt, no closet that I've ever been in, and I just wanted to make that clear, but it was most important for me to make that clear to you, on your show, at this time in the world.
I don't own a closet — I got a dresser, but I don't have a closet." What he does have, he said, is a home.
"And that is my responsibility to protect that home," he explained.
So it's little wonder that Essence magazine gave Trai Byers, Jussie Smollett and Bryshere 'Yazz' Gray their own front covers as well a creating a fourth showing them all for its June Vacation Issue, out on Friday.