Watch: TJ Osborne Tells Ellen He Should Have Come Out Sooner

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday February 5, 2021

"I instantaneously felt like I wish I had done this a long time ago," country singer TJ Osborne, of Brothers Osborne fame, told Ellen DeGeneres during an appearance on her talk show.

The singer stopped by "Ellen" by way of a video chat on Feb. 4, the day after TIME Magazine ran an interview in which he came out as gay.

Calling the response to his coming out "wild," Osborne, 36, went on to say that the "wave of love" that greeted him made for "a very emotional day."

DeGeneres sympathized, nothing that "straight people don't ever have to shove something down and then all of a sudden say to someone, 'I'm straight!' "

"I was asked, like, 'Why do you have to do this?' " Osborne said in response. "And in a perfect world I wish I didn't have to." The star went on to share that, "I kind of got to this point to where I knew that there was never going to be the perfect time" to come out. Now that he's accomplished that feat, Osborne said he now knows that "the perfect time is always now."

As many LGBTQ people have upon coming out, Osborne described his embrace of authenticity as "a weight off of my shoulders" - an oppression replaced by the liberating sense that he's now been welcomed for who he really is.

"People that I feel like personify masculinity and the straight culture" were "coming out with a lot of pride for me," Osborne told Ellen. "That was really the moment to me that made me feel like, 'Wow, that was there the whole time.' "

In his TIME interview, Osborne took note of the irony of being closeted while achieving stardom as a singer-songwriter along with his older brother, John. "God, think of all the times that we talk about love, and write about love. It's the biggest thing we ever get to feel," the country music star reflected. "And I've kept the veil on."

But even while expressing his amazement and gratitude for the surprise of being so warmly supported, Osborne remained clear-eyed about the fact that some country music fans might not, even in 2021, be so accepting.

"I think country really comes from a lot of rural roots," he opined, "and a lot of, kind of, old school way of thinking. I really think that's changed a lot over the years," but even so, he added, he was "curious" to see how he would be greeted "in the more rural counties" now that he's come out as gay. "And yeah, I think there are some people out there that... don't like gay people, and this is a thing." That said, though, Osborne added that he suspected he had imagined the challenge of coming out "to be a bigger hurdle than it really was the whole time."

Watch Osborne's chat with Ellen below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.