TJ Osbourne, one-half of the platinum-selling country hitmakers The Brothers Osbourne, has revealed he’s gay.
“I’m very comfortable being gay,” Osbourne, 36, told Time. “I find myself being guarded for not wanting to talk about something that I personally don’t have a problem with. That feels so strange.”
Osbourne told the magazine that he’s been out to friends and family — he came out to bandmate and brother John in his 20s — in Nashville for years, but his coming out reportedly makes him the only openly gay country artist signed to a major record label. (The magazine draws a stylistic distinction between the mainstream sound of the Brothers Osbourne and other country-adjacent queer artists such as Lil Nas X, Brandi Carlile and Orville Peck.)
“People will ask, ‘Why does this even need to be talked about?’ and personally, I agree with that,” Osbourne explained. “But for me to show up at an awards show with a man would be jaw-dropping to people. It wouldn’t be like, ‘Oh, cool!’”
Osbourne also admits to being “curious” as to how country audiences will react to the revelation: “I don’t think I’m going to get run off the stage in Chicago,” he said. “But in a rural town playing a county fair?”
One early predictor of that may be the response to the Brothers’ video for their hit “Stay a Little Longer,” which featured gay and interracial couples. “There were people who were like, ‘F—-t lovers!’” Osbourne said. Staying closeted in Nashville wore on his relationships, too: “Saying, ‘Hey, don’t hold my hand. Someone I know is in here, so can you wait in the car?’”
“I want to get to the height of my career being completely who I am,” he told Time. “I mean, I am who I am, but I’ve kept a part of me muted, and it’s been stifling.”
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