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Matt Bomer, Rosie O'Donnell Open Up About Coming Out in Hollywood

Matt Bomer, Rosie O'Donnell

In honor of Pride Month, entertainment industry notables sat down with the Hollywood Reporter to discuss how coming out has, and hasn't, changed over the decades. The individuals profiled include actor Matt Bomer (ex-Ben, Guiding Light; ex-Ian, All My Children) and former talk show host Rosie O'Donnell.

Bomer said:

Coming out] was very intimidating at the time because I'd already experienced some fallout in my career just by living openly. I do remember from certain [handlers] a certain sense of — not disappointment but like, 'OK, let's see if this has any repercussions with jobs.'

He continued:

 I was the director's choice on what was called Superman: Flyby [in 2002]. Brett Ratner was directing it and J.J. Abrams had written the script. That went all the way to a screen test and a three-picture deal they'd put together. I don't think [Ratner] did know [that I was gay] when I auditioned. He must have known at some point. I don't think he cared — but that's not to say that there weren't people who did. Then the project slowly fell apart …

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Bomer came out publicly in a moving moment:

I was receiving an award from the amazing Diahann Carroll [in 2012] and just thanked my family in the speech. There were offers to do magazine covers and things like that, and that just didn't really interest me. I wanted there to be almost a lack of fanfare about it. I didn't think it was going to get the sort of play that it did. I didn't imagine that I would say 'thank you' in an award ceremony in Palm Springs and that it would be on the CNN ticker. … They love to throw it on that CNN ticker, don't they?

O'Donnell shared:

When I took the job [to host The Rosie O'Donnell Show], I told the executives at Warner Bros. that I was gay. It was a big meeting at a big corporate table with 20 seats on each side. I said, 'Before you invest $5 million in me, I want you to know you're getting someone who's a lesbian in a time when being a lesbian could hurt your commerce.' They all said, 'Do you imagine you're going to come out?' I said, 'I can't even imagine it."'This was 1995 or '96, so nobody was out.

Reflecting on what it's like for people to come out today, she added:

First you get the 'Hey, You're Gay' Award, and they give it to you in some form, whether it's GLSEN or one of the great gay groups. Then the next person comes out, and then you get to send them a 'Hey, You're Gay' Award.