T.J. Osborne had a moving conversation with Ellen DeGeneres about coming out.
The Brothers Osborne singer, 36, who came out as gay Wednesday in an interview with Time, reflected on his feelings on finally being able to declare who is he with the lesbian talk show host.
"I'm trying not to cry on national television right now," Osborne said Thursday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, adding, "It has been a really wild experience to have come out to very few people," then go "to kind of come out publicly in one big fell swoop, which was in some ways nice."
DeGeneres herself knows a thing or two about coming out; her 1997 declaration on her sitcom Ellen was a game-changing moment in Hollywood, which was initially met with setbacks but established her as a pioneer in the entertainment industry.
"Straight people don't ever have to shove something down and say and all of a sudden say to someone, 'I'm straight,'" DeGeneres reflected to Osborne about the injustice of the process.
Osborne said that while a few close friends and family members had known about his sexuality, he struggled for years in the closet as a public figure in country music -- perhaps needlessly. "Through my insecurities, I maybe built it up to be a bigger hurdle than it was the whole time." He added, "The perfect time is always now ... I wish I had done this a long time ago."
There are very few out performers in country music. To DeGeneres, Osborne attributed this landscape to the genre's "rural roots," its largely Christian fan base, and "a lot of old-school way of thinking."
"It's changed a lot over the years," attested Osborne, who is now "curious" to tour in rural America to see reactions there.
"You're going to have a lot of Christians that are going to love you and accept you for who you are," DeGeneres assured him. "You're going to help a whole lot of people ... you're a huge role model now."