Though gay rights and the general treatment of gays have improved dramatically over the last few decades, it can still be very hard for someone to publicly come out as gay. With the constant concern over whether or not people will accept someone as gay, it is often even harder for people in the public eye to come out – especially when their careers are based on their public image and how much their fans like and admire them.
It’s a true shame that some people have hidden their sexuality throughout their lives but it remains a sad reality. The statistics speak volumes as only 1.5 percent of women in the United States identify as lesbians and less than one percent say that they are bisexual. In all honesty, these numbers are probably even lower in the entertainment industry simply because of the pressures of being in the spotlight and, of course, being accepted.
When it comes to celebrities in Hollywood, we often think of stars like Rosie O’Donnell and Ellen DeGeneres who have given so many women a voice as they find the courage to come forward and come out. We couldn’t help but wonder, however, if there are other celebrity lesbians. From public announcements and quiet romances to everything in between, we found 50 celebrities you probably didn’t know were lesbians. Who made the list? Let’s take a look!
#50 – Suze Orman
When it comes to money, Suze Orman knows her stuff and has been helping people around the world figure out finances for the last 30 years. First working as a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch in the 1980s, Orman was so successful that she founded the Suze Orman Financial Group and later landed her own show on CNBC in 2002. Orman won a Gracie Award in 2006 for Outstanding Program Host and hasn’t looked back as she’s become one of the world’s leading financial advisors and a best-selling author.
Known for her hard-ball personality and frequent screams of “Denied!” to “Can I afford it?” questions from viewers, Orman shocked fans once again in February 2007 when she came out in The New York Times. In a relationship with Kathy Travis at the time, Orman said, “I have never been with a man in my whole life. I’m still a 55-year-old virgin.” Now at 64 years old and happily married to Travis since 2010, Orman is happier than ever and says, “This love will never leave. Kathy is the woman of my life.” How’s that for the softer side of television’s famed financial guru?
#49 – Cherry Jones
With five Tony Awards, a Primetime Emmy and a host of other accolades, it’s safe to say that Tennessee native Cherry Jones has had a stellar career on the stage. Spending the majority of her time on Broadway in productions like The Heiress and Doubt, Jones is perhaps best known for her award-winning performance as U.S. President Allison Taylor on the hit series 24. Jones wrapped up the series in 2010 and has since starred in films like Whiskey Tango Foxtrot as well as in the Stephen King thriller 11.22.63 on Hulu.
Amid rumors of her personal life throughout her early career, Jones came out as a lesbian in 1995 when she won her first Tony Award and thanked her partner of 18 years, Mary O’Connor, during her acceptance speech. Later splitting with O’Connor, Jones dated actress Sarah Paulson (who we’ll see later on the list) from 2004 until 2009. Finding love once again shortly after the split, the now 59-year-old Jones has finally settled down with filmmaker and director Sophie Huber, whom she married in 2015.
#48 – Daniela Mercury
Although she may not be the biggest name in the United States, Daniela Mercury is one of the most famous musicians to ever come out of Brazil. Starting her career in the mid-1980s as the lead singer of Cheiro de Amor, Mercury launched her solo career in the 1990s when she found herself skyrocketing to fame. Known for her energetic performances and killer dance moves, Mercury now holds the record for the most number one hits in Brazil – with a total of 14 – in addition to over 20 million albums sold worldwide.
Mercury married her high school sweetheart, Zalther Povoas, in 1984 but, after over a decade of marriage and two children, they divorced in 1996. Spending the next 15 years keeping her personal life under the radar, Mercury made headlines in 2013 when she revealed she was a lesbian. Using social media to make the announcement, Mercury publicized her relationship with Brazilian journalist Malu Vercosa by announcing, “Malu is now my wife, my family, my inspiration to sing.” Marrying Malu in October 2013, the 50-year-old Mercury continues to churn out hit after hit thanks to the inspiration behind Cupid’s arrow leading to her one true love.
#47 – Sheryl Swoopes
She shoots and…she scores! Rising to fame as women’s basketball gained traction in the 1990s, Texas native Sheryl Swoopes was the first player ever signed to the WNBA after a successful career on the courts at Texas Tech. Joining the Houston Comets as a guard and forward in 1997, the 6’0” tall Swoopes spent a decade with the team before wrapping up her 14-year award-winning career with the Seattle Storm and the Tulsa Shock after three trips to the Olympic Games and four World Cup competitions.
Much like Daniela Mercury, Swoopes married her high school sweetheart in 1995 and gave birth to a son in 1997 but, the happiness was short-lived as she filed for divorce in 1999. By 2005 and at the height of her career, Swoopes came out as a lesbian and announced her relationship with Alisa Scott, an assistant coach in the WNBA, when she told reporters, “Discovering I’m gay just sort of happened later in life.” Splitting up in 2011 after six years together, the now 45-year-old Swoopes is still single and has shifted her focus back to the hardwoods as head coach of the Loyola University of Chicago women’s basketball team.
#46 – Martina Navratilova
Once recognized as the greatest female tennis player by Tennis magazine from 1965 until 2005, Martina Navratilova was a powerhouse on the courts who ranked at the top of the charts for over 300 weeks throughout her 31-year career. Hailing from Czechoslovakia and moving to the United States when she was 18 years old, the left-handed tennis star won an incredible 18 Grand Slam tournaments in her singles career, including nine Wimbledon titles that only further built an incredible $21.6 million in prize money.
Struggling with her sexuality as a rising star in a new country, Navratilova came out as bisexual in 1981 during an interview with the New York Daily News but asked the paper to hold the piece for publication until she was ready. The story, however, was published and put Navratilova’s private life in the spotlight leaving her to later come out as a lesbian and announce her relationship with Judy Nelson. Splitting up with Nelson after seven years and a highly publicized legal battle, the now 59-year-old Navratilova is happier than ever before after marrying her longtime girlfriend, Julia Lemigova, on December 15, 2014 in New York.
#45 – Rachel Maddow
From a sidekick on a morning radio show in Holyoke, Massachusetts to the star of a nightly television show on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow saw her dreams come true in 2005 when The Rachel Maddow Show took the air. First working as a panelist on MSNBC programs like Tucker and Race for the White House, Maddow was a correspondent for two years before becoming the substitute host in 2008 for Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Proving her talents in the hot seat, Maddow was given her own program in what would become one of the highest rated shows on the network.
Often recognized for her liberal stance, the award-winning host and political commentator came out publicly in her teens during an interview with her college newspaper at Stanford University before she could share the news with her parents. An advocate for gay rights ever since, Maddow is the first openly gay anchor to host a primetime news program in the United States and has been in a relationship with her college sweetheart, Susan Mikula, since 1999. Splitting her time between Manhattan and Massachusetts, the 43-year-old Maddow continues to share her opinions and insights on her show while contributing to news outlets like The Washington Post.
#44 – K.D. Lang
Born as Kathryn Dawn Lang in Alberta, Canada, K.D. Lang rose to fame as a pop and country music artist in 1988 after performing at the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Calgary. Lang caught the attention of Roy Orbison who invited her to record a duet of “Crying” that put Lang on the map with her first Grammy Award in 1989. Since then, she’s released award-winning albums like Ingenue and Absolute Torch and Twang featuring hits like “Constant Craving” and “Miss Chatelaine” that have made her one of Canada’s favorite stars.
Publicly coming out in a June 1992 article in the gay and lesbian magazine The Advocate, Lang was initially worried that the country music scene wouldn’t accept her for her sexuality and would shun her from the stage. She was pleasantly surprised, however, when she received widespread praise for the article and her openness about her personal life. Ironically enough, the music industry may have welcomed her honesty about her sexuality but the now 54-year-old singer-songwriter faced a huge backlash when she came out as an animal rights activist and PETA member. Strange, isn’t it?
#43 – Janis Ian
Popular in the folk music scene throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Janis Ian rose to fame after the 1975 release of her album, Between the Lines, which featured the hit single “At Seventeen.” As the album climbed to the top of the Billboard charts, Ian found her niche in the industry and took home a Grammy Award for the single. Still recording today, Ian won her second Grammy Award in 2013 for her autobiography Society’s Child and now balances her time in the studio with her work as a science fiction author.
Married from 1978 to 1983 to Portuguese filmmaker Tino Sargo, Ian divorced Sargo after years of emotional and physical abuse. She then moved to Nashville, Tennessee where she met and fell in love with Patricia Snyder in 1989. After four years with Snyder, Ian came out publicly as a lesbian while promoting her Breaking Silence album in 1993. Celebrating their 14th anniversary by tying the knot in Toronto in 2003, Ian and Snyder have been together nearly 30 years and enjoy spoiling their two grandchildren while living a seemingly quiet life out of the spotlight.
#42 – Brittney Griner
Recognized as the 2009 McDonald’s All-American and the high school women’s basketball player of the year by the WBCA, Brittney Griner attended Baylor University from 2009 to 2013 where she helped the Lady Bears win the 2012 NCAA Championship title. A powerhouse on the court and the recipient of the 2012 ESPY Award for Best Female Athlete, the 6’9” tall center was the first overall pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft and joined the Phoenix Mercury where she won her first WNBA Championship in 2014.
Bullied throughout her childhood for her size, Griner faced another challenge when it came to her sexuality and finding the confidence to come out publicly. During an interview with Sports Illustrated in April 2013, Griner came out as a lesbian saying, “It’s hard. Just being picked on for being different. Just being bigger, my sexuality, everything.” In 2014, Griner announced her engagement to fellow WNBA player Glory Johnson, but the relationship ended abruptly in a highly publicized domestic dispute when Johnson announced she was pregnant with someone else’s child. Though both players were suspended for seven games in 2015, Griner pled guilty to disorderly conduct and completed 26 weeks of violence counseling.
#41 – Nelly Furtado
“I’m like a bird, I’ll only fly away…” Canadian singer Nelly Furtado became an overnight success in 2000 with the release of her debut album Whoa, Nelly! featuring songs like “I’m Like a Bird” and “Turn Off the Light.” Taking home a Grammy Award in 2002 for the album and going on to win 10 Juno Awards and earning a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, Furtado’s career has been on fire with internationally acclaimed hits like “Powerless (Say What You Want),” “Promiscuous” and “Say It Right.”
Furtado’s sexuality has been a hot topic of conversation for over a decade after her long-time relationship with Jasper Gahunia led to the birth of their daughter in 2003. Questions circled around the romance since the two were friends first and even remained as such after their breakup in 2005. On the heels of the split, Blender magazine even asked Furtado about her sexuality and if she was attracted to women, to which she replied, “Absolutely. Women are beautiful and sexy.” While many thought she announced her bisexuality, Furtado backpedaled and married Demacio Castellon in 2008 despite questions and rumors running wild.
#40 – Melissa Etheridge
Kansas native Melissa Etheridge saw her career flourish throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s when she released her self-titled album that climbed its way to the top 25 on the United States charts. Building her repertoire as a pop influenced folk-rock artist with award-winning hits like “Bring Me Some Water,” “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window,” Etheridge has spent the last 31 years proving her exceptional talents as a singer, songwriter and musician.
After Bill Clinton was inaugurated as the President of the United States in 1993, the Triangle Ball was held to celebrate the occasion with notable members of the LGBT community, which is where Etheridge came out publicly as a lesbian. Since then, the 54-year-old artist has been a huge advocate for gay rights around the world and has seen her fair share of notable relationships with film director Julie Cypher and actress Tammy Lynn Michaels. Most recently, Etheridge married actress Linda Wallem in 2014 just two days after they both celebrated their 53rd birthdays.
#39 – Ani DiFranco
Widely recognized as a feminist icon and grassroots supporter of a variety of causes, Ani DiFranco’s music has rarely topped the charts but that doesn’t mean she isn’t one of the most highly respected musicians in the folk rock industry. First opening her own record company – Righteous Babe Records – at the age of 18, DiFranco has paved her path to success with the release of over 20 albums that incorporate her eclectic blend of punk, hip hop and jazz.
Already identifying publicly as bisexual early in her career, DiFranco has used her growing fame and the stage to champion for gay and lesbian rights while also discussing her sexuality in songs like “In or Out.” First married to Andrew Gilchrist from 1998 to 2003, DiFranco married her producer, Mike Napolitano, in 2009 after giving birth to their daughter in 2007. Having since welcomed a second child in 2013, the 45-year-old artist lives with her family in New Orleans where she continues to work for gay rights and other social movements.
#38 – Drew Barrymore
Easily one of the most popular celebrities on our list and true Hollywood royalty, Drew Barrymore appeared in her first commercial at 11 months old before landing her breakout role in 1982 in Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Growing up on the silver screen, Barrymore transitioned from a child star to an award-winning actress while proving her talents across all genres from thrillers and dramas to romantic comedies with hits like Scream, The Wedding Singer, Never Been Kissed and 50 First Dates.
First married to Jeremy Thomas from 1994 to 1995, Barrymore tied the knot with comedian Tom Green in 2001 only to divorce in 2002. A year later, she told Contact Music that she always considered herself bisexual and that she used to “go with lots of women” in her younger days because “being with a woman is like exploring your own body, but through someone else.” Despite her adoration for women, however, Barrymore married Will Kopelman in 2012. With their divorce in 2016 after giving birth to two daughters, we can’t help but hope Barrymore meets Ms. Right this time around!
#37 – Kristy McNichol
Making her acting debut in commercials alongside her brother, Kristy McNichol relied on family friend Desi Arnaz throughout the 1970s for guest appearances on series like Starsky & Hutch, The Bionic Woman and The Love Boat before finally making her film debut in 1977. Within three years, the 18-year-old McNichol was cast in The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia opposite Dennis Quaid when she earned an unprecedented six-figure salary. Despite her Golden Globe nominated performance a year later in Only When I Laugh, McNichol’s career never took off the way she always dreamed.
Retiring from acting in 2001, McNichol found herself back in the headlines once again in 2012 when the former Empty Nest star came out as a lesbian. Often bullied as a child for her sexual preference, McNichol was inspired to share her experience in an effort to help others find the courage she wished she had early in her life. Now at 53 years old and working as an acting teacher at a private Los Angeles school, McNichol is in a relationship with Martie Allen and continues to focus her efforts on charity work and gay rights.
#36 – Sandra Bernhard
Ranked on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 greatest female comedians of all time, Michigan native Sandra Bernhard first rose to fame in the late 1970s thanks to her witty and off-the-cuff stand-up routine that criticized celebrities and politicians. Taking her comedy from behind the mic to television and film, some of Bernhard’s most notable credits include Roseanne, Hercules and Zoolander with her most recent appearances in television series such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and 2 Broke Girls.
Openly identifying as bisexual and a big supporter of gay rights, Bernhard has said that she is attracted to people regardless of their gender and that she has never been worried about being different from everyone else. Having had relationships with both men and women over the years, the 60-year-old comedian says, “I’ve always been very sophisticated about my sexuality.” After giving birth to her daughter Cicely in 1998, Bernhard has finally settled down and raises her daughter with longtime partner Sara Switzer.
#35 – Christina Aguilera
From The Mickey Mouse Club to number one singles like “Genie in a Bottle” and “What a Girl Wants,” Christina Aguilera has spent the last 23 years paving her way to stardom from a child star and teen pop icon to an international sex symbol. Often nicknamed the “Princess of Pop,” the five-time Grammy Award winner has sold over 50 million albums worldwide and has seen recent success with hits like “Moves like Jagger” and “Say Something” while working as a judge on the hit reality show, The Voice.
A self-proclaimed free spirit, Aguilera has been all over the place when it comes to talking about her sexuality and first turned heads with her sensual portrayal of gay people in her “Beautiful” music video. Having said that “two women are way sexier than two men in bed” and that she loves experimenting with her sexuality, the 35-year-old doesn’t define herself as lesbian or bisexual. After being married to Jordan Bratman from 2005 to 2011 and currently engaged to Matthew Rutler after six years of dating and two children, who says Aguilera needs to define her sexuality anyway?
#34 – Heather Matarazzo
Born in Oyster Bay, New York, Heather Matarazzo started her career at only 13 years old when she gained recognition for her performance as a geeky girl in Welcome to the Doll House in 1995. Since then, the 33-year-old actress has made her directorial debut while making dozens of appearances in television series such as ER, Law & Order and Grey’s Anatomy in addition to memorable performances in films like The Princess Diaries, The Devil’s Advocate, Scream 3 and Sorority Boys.
Unlike so many other celebrities on our list, Matarazzo came out as a lesbian through her publicist in 2008 when she announced her engagement to her partner of four years, musician Caroline Murphy. Calling it quits with Murphy in 2012 but remaining friends, Matarazzo is currently still single and continues to balance her work as an actress while campaigning for gay and lesbian rights through various keynote addresses that have gained widespread attention across the northeast.
#33 – Linda Hunt
Towering (or teetering) at a whopping 4’9” tall, Linda Hunt made a name for herself over 30 years ago when she made her film debut in 1980 as Mrs. Oxheart in Popeye. Landing her breakthrough role in 1982 in The Year of Living Dangerously, Hunt has appeared in films like Kindergarten Cop, If Looks Could Kill and Stranger Than Fiction with her most notable role as the all-knowing, cunning and caring Henrietta Lange on the hit CBS series NCIS: Los Angeles.
Coming out as a lesbian in the mid-1980s as her career blossomed, Hunt moved in with her partner, Karen Klein, in 1987. Living in Los Angeles and together for three decades before tying the knot in 2008, Hunt and Klein are still together today and share a common love of animals. In fact, the 71-year-old Hunt is a spokesperson for the Best Friends Animal Society, which is one of the largest animal welfare groups in the United Sates.
#32 – Meredith Baxter
For anyone who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, Meredith Baxter was a household name thanks to her roles on the ABC series Family from 1976 to 1980 and on the NBC sitcom Family Ties from 1982 to 1989. A five-time Emmy Award nominee over a 45-year career, Baxter has appeared in films like Ben and All the President’s Men in addition to notable television series like 7th Heaven, Cold Case, Glee and The Young and the Restless.
With four marriages and five children, Baxter’s relationship history is rather long and dates back to 1966 when she married Robert Lewis Bush. Divorcing five years later, the pattern repeated with actors David Birney and Michael Blodgett until 2000. During an interview with Matt Lauer on Today in 2009, Baxter came out to the world and said that she had her first same-sex relationship in 2002 when she finally understood why her marriages had failed. After meeting Nancy Locke in 2005 and marrying in 2013, the 68-year-old Baxter has proven the fourth time is a charm when it comes to finding her happily ever after.
#31 – Kirsten Vangsness
Who done it? Crime shows are all the rage these days, just ask California’s own Kirsten Vangsness! Catching her first big break in theater, Vangsness was cast as Penelope Garcia on Criminal Minds where she instantly became a star thanks to her character’s flamboyant and fun-loving personality. Continuing to work on the series today, Vangsness has even played Penelope in two spin-offs, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, in addition to appearing in films like In My Sleep, The Chicago 8 and Kill Me, Deadly.
Just as flamboyant and fun-loving as her character, Vangsness has made headlines over years because of her sexuality. Once saying that she’s “as queer as a purple unicorn singing Madonna,” the 43-year-old broke off her engagement to editor Melanie Goldstein after seven years in 2013. Two years later, Vangsness said that she was exploring her sexuality with a new boyfriend and announced in November 2015 that she was engaged to actor and writer, Keith Hanson. Still waiting to walk down the aisle, it’s safe to say Vangsness identifies as bisexual.
#30 – Rosie O’Donnell
Discovered on Star Search in 1984 and launching her career as a stand-up comedian, Rosie O’Donnell was a huge name in the industry by the mid-1990s. The New York native built a huge following and, by 1996, was given her own television show – The Rosie O’Donnell Show – which won multiple Emmy Awards during its six-season run. O’Donnell has also made appearances in films like A League of Their Own and The Flintstones but has stayed busiest with her work in television on programs like The View, The Fosters, Empire and Mom.
Known for being openly gay and an outspoken LGBT activist, O’Donnell first came out in 2002 when she announced “I’m a dyke” at an Ovarian Cancer Research benefit during part of her stand-up routine saying, “I don’t know why people make such a big deal about the gay thing.” Two years later, O’Donnell married Kelli Carpenter but the marriage was later annulled. Focusing her attention on raising her four children, it wasn’t until 2012 when O’Donnell married again, this time to Michelle Rounds. Calling it quits with Rounds in 2015, the 54-year-old O’Donnell is now raising her five children while balancing her work as an actor, activist, blogger and producer.
#29 – Amanda Bearse
Studying acting at New York City’s famed Neighborhood Playhouse, Amanda Bearse had her first major role in the 1985 horror flick Fright Night and, within two years, had already become a household name on television as Marcy on the long-running Married…With Children. Bearse spent a decade on the show while trying her hand as a director on other series including Reba, The Jamie Foxx Show, Dharma & Greg and Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place.
After four years on Married…With Children, Bearse came out to her coworkers in 1991 but it wasn’t until two years later when she came out publicly and became the first openly gay lesbian to star in a primetime series. By the late 2000s, the Florida native began dating Carrie Schenken and later tied the knot in 2010 although there was a notable absence from the guest list. Who was missing? Bearse said that she didn’t invite Ed O’Neill from Married…With Children because she didn’t want to see him giggling uncontrollably and unable to take her important day seriously. We can’t say we blame her!
#28 – Missy Higgins
Hailing from the Land Down Under, the next celebrity on our list is Melissa “Missy” Higgins who has found international success as a singer, songwriter, musician and actress. Releasing number one albums like The Sound of White in 2004 and On a Clear Night in 2007, the award-winning artist is known for her pop rock and indie sound featured in hit singles like “Scar,” “Steer,” “The Special Two” and “Where I Stood.”
Rising to fame in the early 2000s, Higgins was the media’s favorite hot topic when everyone speculated about her sexuality. In 2007, an Australian lesbian magazine finally asked the million-dollar question as Higgins responded, “I think sexuality is a fluid thing. I’ve been in relationships with both men and women so I guess I fall most easily under the category of bisexual.” With the rumors momentarily put to rest, Higgins focused on her music until she made headlines again in 2013 when she started dating comedian Dan Lee. Now engaged and with the birth of her son in January 2015, we wish Higgins and her family nothing but happiness!
#27 – Cara Delevingne
Making her modeling debut at only 10 years old in Vogue Italia, London’s 23-year-old Cara Delevingne has skyrocketed to fame as a two-time British Fashion Award Model of the Year. The 5’8” Delevingne signed her first contract in 2009 and has since become a magnet for the runway, social media and the tabloids after being featured in dozens of ads for high profile brands like Burberry, Dolce & Gabanna and more. She’s even made her way to the silver screen with appearances in films like Anna Karenina, Paper Towns and Suicide Squad.
A hot commodity both on and off the runway (and the silver screen), everyone wants to know more about Delevingne, how she spends her time and who she spends it with. Openly bisexual, Delevingne announced her relationship with musician Annie Clark (who is better known as St. Vincent) in 2015, which launched a media frenzy featuring dozens of photos of the couple plastered across England’s famed tabloids. Of course, after dating Harry Styles and Michelle Rodriguez, Delevingne is accustomed to making headlines for her steamy romances.
#26 – Tila Tequila
Do you remember MySpace? While some readers may be too young to remember the pre-Facebook site from the early 2000s, one of the most popular MySpace users was model and musician Tila Tequila. Using social media to become a celebrity, Tequila’s internet fame took her straight to the cover of men’s magazines like Playboy and Maxim before she made her television debut on Surviving Nugent in 2003 and then starred in her own dating show on MTV, A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila, in 2007.
There isn’t a list long enough in the entire world to name all the people who Tequila has been linked to romantically thanks, in part, to her bisexual-themed dating show that left men and women vying for her affection. After the show’s end in 2008, Tequila dated socialite Courtenay Semel for a few months before turning her attention to NFL star Shawne Merriman. Continuing the pattern of short-lived romances ever since, Tequila gave birth to a daughter in 2014 shortly after dating and breaking up with musician Thomas Whitaker. Looks like the 34-year-old Tequila is living up to her reputation as a real “Hook Up Queen.”
#25 – Jessica Clark
One of the most exotic and beautiful women in front of the cameras today is London’s own Jessica Clark whose English, Irish, Indian and Nigerian heritage have created show-stopping beauty. Catching her first major break when she won a modeling competition at 16 years old, Clark has been a huge name in the industry with appearances in Vogue and Elle for brands like Adidas and Alexander McQueen. The 31-year-old beauty has also proven to be an exceptional actress as one of the hottest stars in the hit series True Blood.
Coming out early in her career, Clark is open about who she is and said, “I am multi-racial, I am gay, and there’s not much I can do about those things, nor would I want to if I could.” Catching the public’s eye in a nude appearance in Usher’s “Burn” music video in 2004, Clark met and began dating fitness trainer Lacey Stone shortly after. The couple married in 2010 but divorced two years later. Since then, Clark has cohosted Lesbian Love on Ellen DeGeneres’s video blog and has been linked to Ruby Croak since 2013.
#24 – Portia de Rossi
Speaking of Ellen DeGeneres, it only makes sense that her longtime partner and spouse, Portia de Rossi, is next on our list. Born in Australia and first gaining prominence in the late 1990s on Ally McBeal, de Rossi followed up the series with successful runs on shows like Arrested Development, Better Off Ted and Nip/Tuck. Often ranked as one of the sexiest women in the world, de Rossi is still turning heads today as one of the powerful and politically influential women on the hit ABC series Scandal.
Initially worried about being exposed as a lesbian in her early career, de Rossi was married to filmmaker Mel Metcalfe from 1996 to 1999. On the heels of her divorce and exposed as a lesbian thanks to leaked photos in the tabloids, de Rossi started dating Francesca Gregorini but it wasn’t until 2005 when the actress embraced her sexuality and began dating DeGeneres. Together ever since, the two married in 2008 and are still together today with no plans on having children. They did, however, recently adopt a puppy who is undoubtedly one of the most loved dogs in all of Hollywood!
#23 – Samantha Fox
Recognized as the most popular pin-up girl and the most photographed Brit of the 1980s, Samantha Fox was only 16 years old when she signed a modeling contract and posed topless for The Sun. Fox achieved widespread success and retired from the magazine after four years to launch her career as a pop artist. Rising to fame with hit songs like “Touch Me (I Want Your Body),” Fox continued to make special appearances in The Sun and Playboy magazine while promoting her music.
Now 50 years old, Fox has had her fair share of interesting relationships which included a fling with notorious Australian con man Peter Foster. She also made headlines for dating KISS band member Paul Stanley before rumors swirled about her sexuality after she judged a lesbian beauty pageant in the 1990s. Denying a lesbian relationship with her roommate Cris Bonacci, Fox finally came out in 2003 and confirmed her relationship with her manager, Myra Stratton, by saying, “People say I’m gay…I don’t know what I am. All I know is that I’m in love with Myra.” Sadly, Fox lost the love of her life in 2015 when the 60-year-old Stratton lost her two-year-battle with cancer.
#22 – Kristanna Loken
Encouraged by her mother to pursue modeling, New York native Kristanna Loken took to the runway as a teenager before transitioning into acting in the late 1990s. Cast in her first major role in 2003 as a deadly cyborg in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, the 36-year-old actress has starred in a variety of films like BloodRayne, Bounty Killer and Mercenaries in addition to television series such as The L Word, Burn Notice and Girl Meets World.
Loken’s sexuality has been a bit of a mystery over the years after she first told Curve magazine, “I’ve dated and have had sex with men and women, and have to say that the relationships I have had with certain women have been much more fulfilling.” Despite rumors of romance with her BloodRayne costar Michelle Rodriguez, nothing was ever confirmed. Loken has bounced between dating men and women over the years and is obviously back to dating men after confirming her relationship with former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa since 2015. We’re just glad she’s finally happy!
#21 – Aubrey O’Day
With Sean “Diddy” Combs to thank for her rise to fame, Aubrey O’Day has come quite a long way since Combs discovered her on his reality show – Making the Band 3 – as a member of the all-girl group Danity Kane. Despite being the most popular of the group, O’Day left the band in 2008 and launched her career as a solo artist and model. Since then, she has appeared in Playboy, taken the Broadway stage in Hairspray and has released her debut album Between Two Evils.
After splitting with DJ Cassidy and denying a relationship with Combs, rumors ran wild around O’Day’s sexuality leading the rising star to tell the media that she looks for “incredible passion and honest love, not gender.” Reportedly dating a woman at the time, O’Day continued to face rumors and took to Chelsea Lately in 2009 to tell her fans, “I don’t like to label myself. I want to find someone I’m passionate about and I don’t want to limit myself to one segment of the population.” These days, the 32-year-old star appears to have found exactly the passion she’s looking for in the arms of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Garland.
#20 – Brandy Clark
“This ain’t my mama’s broken heart…” One of the biggest names behind the scenes in country music, Brandy Clark has slowly made her way to the spotlight after launching her career as a songwriter. Churning out hits like “Mama’s Broken Heart” and “Better Dig Two” for superstars like Miranda Lambert, The Band Perry, Sheryl Crow and many more, Clark finally took center stage on her own in 2013 with her debut album 12 Stories, which earned her a 2015 Grammy Award nomination as Best New Artist.
First picking up a guitar at nine years old, the 39-year-old Clark said that the deck was stacked against her in the country music industry as a woman “over 30 and over a size two” in addition to being openly gay. In an interview with The Washington Post, Clark said, “I don’t write songs for straight people or gay people or black people or white people. I write songs for people. I want them to put themselves in these songs. I would feel that way if I was straight.” Whatever she’s doing, it’s definitely working for this rising Nashville star.
#19 – Cat Cora
Thanks to television stations like The Food Network, the past decade has welcomed a host of celebrity chefs including Mississippi native Cat Cora. Born into a family of restauranteurs, Cora first gained fame on Iron Chef and has since become a staple on dozens of food shows like Around the World in 80 Plates. In addition to her television fame, Cora is also the owner of Singapore’s Ocean by Cat Cora restaurant as well as three United States venues – Cat Cora’s Kitchen in Houston, San Francisco and Salt Lake City.
Doing her best to keep her personal life private, the 48-year-old Cora has been openly gay for decades and was often seen at red carpet events with her longtime partner, Jennifer. Having four sons together via in vitro fertilization, a “happily ever after” seemed like a sure bet for this stunning couple as they tied the knot in June 2013. By November 2015, however, Cora announced the end of their 17-year relationship which puts this hot chef back on the market!
#18 – Kate McKinnon
Known for her impressions of everyone from Justin Bieber and Ellen DeGeneres to Iggy Azalea and Martha Stewart on Saturday Night Live, comedian Kate McKinnon launched her career nearly a decade ago as part of the Big Gay Sketch Show on the Logo Network. Now at 32 years old, the Primetime Emmy nominee has skyrocketed to stardom with her most recent role as Jillian Holtzmann in the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters.
When it comes to being gay in Hollywood, McKinnon credits past lesbian stars like Julia Goldman and Rosie O’Donnell who helped pave the way for her and others. During an interview, McKinnon told reporters, “These are people who have made it OK for me to be gay, to be who I am right now, and I’m just so grateful as a person to them for their work and what they’ve done for all of us.”
#17 – Maria Bello
Launching her career in New York theater, Maria Bello made her television debut in the 1990s on NBC’s hit series ER before becoming an even bigger name when she was cast as Mrs. Smith in the Mr. & Mrs. Smith spy series. Since then, the stunning blonde has transitioned into film with appearances in hits such as Coyote Ugly, The Cooler, A History of Violence and The Jane Austen Book Club.
Managing to keep her personal life out of the spotlight for much of her career, Bello made headlines in 2013 when she came out as a gay in a column written for The New York Times titled “Coming Out as a Modern Family.” Admitting that her 12-year-old son (with ex-boyfriend Dan McDermott) questioned if she had a girlfriend, Bello said, “I was with someone romantically and I hadn’t told [my son]. I had become involved with a woman who was my best friend and, as it happens, a person who is like a godmother to my son.” Cheers to her for finding love!
#16 – Kelly McGillis
One of the biggest and hottest stars in Hollywood during the 1980s, Kelly McGillis won the hearts of audiences and earned her first Golden Globe nomination in 1985 with her breakout role in Witness opposite Harrison Ford. She then went on to star as the sexy flight instructor named Charlie in Top Gun with yet another memorable role opposite Jodie Foster in the 1988 hit The Accused before taking a break from the silver screen.
First marrying Boyd Black in 1978 and divorcing by 1981, McGillis married Fred Tillman in 1989. After two daughters and 13 years of marriage, they divorced in 2002 and, seven years later, McGillis came out as gay during an interview with SheWired when she admitted that her struggle with her sexual orientation started at the age of 12. The following year, the actress-turned-acting teacher entered into a civil union with her longtime friend, Melanie Leis, but by 2012, the couple called it quits leaving this Top Gun star flying solo once again.
#15 – Catherine McNeil
Taking the catwalk at just 14 years old, Australian native Catherine McNeil turned heads with her stunning beauty as she landed advertisement deals with big names like Versace and Donna Karan by the age of 18. Now at 26 years old and ranked as one of the “Top 50 Models in the World,” she’s a veteran of the runway and definitely a showstopper modeling lines such as Jimmy Choo, Kenneth Cole, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton and dozens of others.
Sticking to dating within the modeling industry, McNeil’s first public relationship was with Danish supermodel Freja Beha Erichsen. After the couple split in 2009, McNeil was spotted kissing the gorgeous Ruby Rose, an Australian model and actress. McNeil and Rose were rumored to be engaged but the wedding was called off in 2010 long before wedding bells ever rang. Since then, McNeil briefly dated model Miles Langford before courting Emily Hope. Breaking up with Hope in January 2015, McNeil is still single and definitely ready to mingle.
#14 – Jillian Michaels
Helping people get into shape since the series premiere of NBC’s The Biggest Loser in 2004, personal trainer Jillian Michaels has become a household name in the fitness industry. Spending the last 12 years on the show in addition to hits like Losing It with Jillian, the 42-year-old has continued to prove her talents as an author, expert trainer and businesswoman especially after the January 2016 debut of her E! network reality television series Just Jillian.
Living in the public eye for over a decade, Michaels kept her personal life quiet until 2012 when she came out as gay. She admitted that she didn’t realize she was gay until her 20s and credited Madonna’s “Justify My Love” music video with giving her the courage to find her voice. As for love, Michaels has two children with her fiancé Heidi Rhoades and says, “I believe in healthy love. If I fall in love with a woman, that’s awesome. If I fall in love with a man, that’s awesome. As long as you fall in love.”
#13 – Wanda Sykes
Recognized as a trailblazer and role model for young black women around the world with high hopes for careers in Hollywood, comedian Wanda Sykes is one of the funniest people in America. Sykes launched her career as a writer for The Chris Rock Show and gained recognition after taking home an Emmy Award in 1999. Since then, she’s taken her place in front of the camera on hit series like The New Adventures of Old Christine and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Sykes spent the majority of the 1990s married to record producer David Hall before divorcing in 1998. A decade later, the actress surprised Las Vegas fans when she joined a same-sex marriage rally and publicly came out as gay after announcing her recent marriage to Alex Niedbalski, who gave birth to their twins a year later. Now at 52 years old, Sykes admits that she struggled telling her parents about her sexuality until she was already 40 years old but, as a wife and mother, she’s happier than ever before as she watches her parents shower her children with love.
#12 – Jane Lynch
Illinois native Jane Lynch had been in Hollywood for over a decade before catching a huge break in 2006 when she was cast as the eccentric Paula in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Quickly becoming a star, Lynch built her career with hits like Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Role Models before landing the leading role in Glee. Taking home dozens of awards from the series, the 55-year-old star has also brought home two Emmy Awards as the host of NBC’s hit game show, Hollywood Game Night.
Unlike many others on our list, Lynch said that her sexuality was never met with fanfare and told reporters, “I’m an actor and when people started taking an interest in me, where they wanted to write about me, I didn’t say I wasn’t gay, so – I never had that.” Named as one of the “10 Amazing Gay Women in Showbiz,” Lynch credits talk show host Ellen DeGeneres for making it easier for women to embrace their sexuality and come out to their family, friends and the public in general with more confidence.
#11 – Robin Roberts
One of the most popular news broadcasters in the United States, Robin Roberts was a basketball star at Southeastern Louisiana University who took her skills off the hardwoods as a local television sports anchor destined for fame. Joining ESPN as a sportscaster in 1990, Roberts moved to the anchor seat on Good Morning America in 2005 where she’s shared news and entertainment headlines as well as her life and battle against breast cancer and myelodysplastic syndrome with the world.
Spending each day in front of millions of viewers, Roberts kept her personal life and sexual orientation private although close friends, family and coworkers knew she was gay. After a year-long struggle with her health in 2013, Roberts posted an update on Facebook on December 29 that acknowledged her health and her relationship with long-time girlfriend, Amber Laign, whom she has been with since 2005. With Laign at her side for every chemo treatment and even a bone marrow transplant, Roberts says she has finally found true love.
#10 – Michelle Rodriguez
Skyrocketing to stardom over 15 years ago thanks to her award-winning performance as a troubled boxer in Girlfight, Michelle Rodriguez has become notorious for playing tough and independent women who can definitely throw a punch. Perhaps best known for her role in The Fast and the Furious franchise, the 37-year-old is one of Hollywood’s favorite female action stars with roles in films like S.W.A.T., Avatar, Blue Crush and Resident Evil.
Named as one of the sexiest women in the world, Rodriguez has dated her fair share of A-listers including her Furious and S.W.A.T. co-stars, Vin Diesel and Olivier Martinez. However, after a broken engagement and rumored relationships with women, Rodriguez finally told Cosmopolitan magazine in 2013 that she wasn’t gay. Instead, she said, “I’ve gone both ways. I do as I please. I am too curious to sit here and not try when I can. Men are intriguing. So are chicks.” Currently single and worth an impressive $34 million, there’s no doubt this sexy Latina will find her next flame soon!
#9 – Queen Latifah
A pioneer feminist in the world of hip-hop, Queen Latifah is one of the most talented artists of the past 25 years. Launching her career in 1989 with the release of her All Hail the Queen debut album, Latifah has released six other albums in addition to starring in films like Chicago, Taxi and Bringing Down the House. In fact, there’s little that this New Jersey native hasn’t done as she’s proven her talents as a model, award-winning television and record producer, comedienne and talk show host.
Spotted kissing a woman in 2014, rumors about Queen Latifah’s sexuality started to spread as people wondered, “Is she gay or is she straight?” In response to the questions, Latifah told reporters, “I don’t find being gay or lesbian to be a character flaw. Couples should be protected under the laws of this country period.” Though never openly speaking about her own sexuality despite often being seen in public holding hands with Eboni Nichols, Latifah is one of Hollywood’s biggest advocates for gay rights and appears to be bisexual at the very least.
#8 – Jodie Foster
With a career spanning 50 years and counting, Jodie Foster was only five years old when she made her television debut on Mayberry R.F.D. Literally growing up on the silver screen, Foster landed her first major role in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, which earned her an Oscar nomination. Her career quickly blossomed as she brought in award after award for her performances in hit films such as The Accused, The Silence of the Lambs and Nell.
Foster has one of the most unusual outings on the list when she was accused in 1990 of being a closet lesbian after protesters argued that The Silence of the Lambs was homophobic. Often quoted for saying that she “values privacy against all else,” Foster settled the matter seven years later during an event in honor when she acknowledged the rumors without fully “coming out.” Already in an 11-year relationship (not to mention having two children) with Cydney Bernard at the time, Foster’s sexual preference was already known in Hollywood without her ever having to use the words “gay” or “lesbian” in her iconic speech.
#7 – Sarah Paulson
With her sights set on stardom, Sarah Paulson graduated from Manhattan’s High School of Performing Arts and immediately found work as an actress. Landing roles in series such as American Gothic and Jack & Jill, Paulson made the transition to the silver screen where she was cast in films like What Women Want, Down with Love and Path to War. Now at 41 years old, Paulson has returned to television and is best known for her award-winning performance in the last five seasons of the FX series, American Horror Story.
Spending more than a decade in the spotlight and often with a beau on her arm, Paulson started dating actress Cherry Jones in 2004 and, by 2007, they openly professed their love to one another during an interview with Velvetpark. Breaking up with Jones in 2009, Paulson has described her sexuality as “fluid” but, after having recently been spotted arm and arm with 73-year-old actress Holland Taylor, we can’t help but think that maybe Paulson’s broken heart has finally healed.
#6 – Raven Symone
Winning the hearts of audiences as the sassy Olivia Kendall on The Cosby Show, Raven Symone’s fame continued to grow as she became a teen idol in the 1990s and the star of her own Disney Channel series, That’s So Raven. Wrapping up her series and transitioning to film, Symone retired from acting in 2013 to enroll at the Academy of Art University but made a huge comeback in 2015 when she joined ABC’s daytime show, The View.
Neither confirming nor denying rumors about being gay, Simone took to Twitter in 2012 where she told fans, “My sexual orientation is mine and the person I’m dating’s to know. I’m not one for a public display of my life.” Just two years later, however, Symone told Oprah Winfrey that she was finally in an “amazing, happy relationship” with a woman but refused to accept any label such as “gay.” By 2015, Symone introduced her partner, AzMarie Livingston, but the relationship soon fizzled as they called it quits in October after three years together.
#5 – Cynthia Nixon
Launching her acting career at just 12 years old, Cynthia Nixon spent much of her early career dividing her time between the stage and the silver screen in productions like The Philadelphia Story and in films like Amadeus and The Pelican Brief. By 1998, however, everything changed for Nixon when she was cast as the sexy red-headed Miranda Hobbes in HBO’s Sex and the City, which earned her a 2004 Emmy Award and widespread fame.
Spending 15 years in a relationship with Danny Mozes and raising their two children, all signs pointed to Nixon being straight until the couple broke up in 2003. The following year, Nixon started dating education activist Christine Marinoni and soon found herself in love. Engaged by 2009 and married in 2012, Nixon now identifies as bisexual and says, “I don’t really feel I’ve changed. I’d been with men all my life and I’d never fallen in love with a woman. But when I did, it didn’t seem so strange. I’m just a woman in love with another woman.”
#4 – Amber Heard
One of the youngest celebrities on our list at just 29 years old is the beautiful Amber Heard. First making her acting debut in Friday Night Lights with Billy Bob Thornton, Heard landed her breakout role in 2008 with Never Back Down and Pineapple Express. Since then, the award-winning actress has appeared with some of Hollywood’s hottest stars including Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum and Matt Bomer in films like The Rum Diary and Magic Mike XXL.
Having dated men for the majority of her life, Heard surprised the world in 2010 when she came out at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s 25th Anniversary event. Heard said, “I don’t label myself one way or another – I have had successful relationships with men and now a woman. I love who I love.” That woman was photographer Tasya van Ree but their relationship didn’t last long as Heard met and fell in love with Johnny Depp while filming The Rum Diary. Marrying Depp in a private ceremony in 2015, Heard continues to identify as bisexual.
#3 – Sara Gilbert
Starring in what became one of the greatest television series of all time, Sara Gilbert played the moody Darlene Conner on Roseanne from 1988 until 1997. Graduating from Yale University the same year the series ended, Gilbert went on to prove her talents both on and off the camera with appearances as Sheldon’s rival, Leslie Winkle, on The Big Bang Theory and as the co-host, creator and executive producer of The Talk with Julie Chen, Sharon Osbourne and others.
Dating her Roseanne and future Big Bang Theory costar Johnny Galecki as a teenager, Gilbert said that’s when she knew she was a lesbian. Splitting up and remaining friends with Galecki, Gilbert then started dating television producer Allison Adler in 2001. After two children and spending the last 15 years keeping her sexuality private, Gilbert came out in 2010 as she prepared for the launch of her talk show. Separating from Adler the following year, Gilbert is now married to songwriter and former 4 Non Blondes frontwoman, Linda Perry.
#2 – Lily Tomlin
Easily one of the funniest women of the 1970s, Lily Tomlin made a name for herself on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In which led to an acting career that spans over five decades. Now at 76 years old, Tomlin has earned dozens of awards for her outstanding performances in recent hits like Grace and Frankie as well as in notable films such as Nashville, The Late Show, 9 to 5, Flirting with Disaster, I Heart Huckabees and Grandma.
First meeting writer Jane Wagner in 1971, Tomlin had little idea that their early collaboration on a project would quickly transform into love and, ultimately, a 45-year relationship. With their romance blossoming in the 1970s, Tomlin and Wagner never officially came out but Tomlin said that everyone in the industry knew about her sexuality and their relationship. Tomlin said, “In interviews I always referenced Jane…but they don’t always write about it.” After 42 years together, the couple finally married in a private ceremony on New Year’s Eve in 2013 and are still living happily ever after.
#1 – Ellen Page
Joining Amber Heard as the second 29-year-old celebrity on our list is Canada’s very own Ellen Page. Launching her career as a television star in Canada, Page landed her first big role in the United States in the 2005 drama Hard Candy. Thanks to her award-winning performance in the 2007 comedy Juno, Page quickly became a Hollywood star and has since appeared in films like Inception, The Tracey Fragments and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Much like how Wanda Sykes came out, Page announced she was gay in front of a Las Vegas crowd gathered on Valentine’s Day in 2014 at the Time to Thrive conference for the Human Rights Campaign. A year later, the public caught their first glimpse of Page with her partner, professional surfer Samantha Thomas, at the premiere of Freeheld at the Toronto Film Festival. As an advocate for LGBT rights, Page has appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where she has openly discussed her relationship and how good it feels to finally be happy.