|Jussie Smollett and Ellen DeGeneres|
Smollett, whose Empire character Jamal Lyons recently sang his way out of the closet, declined to address his personal life in the talk show portion of his interview with Ellen but arranged a follow up interview backstage to make it clear his reluctance to talk about the subject shouldn't be construed as him living a closeted life.
"It was really important to me to make sure that it got across that there is no closet," Smollett said. "There’s never been a closet. That I’ve been in. I don’t own a closet, I got a dresser, but I don’t have a closet, but I have a home and that is my responsibility to protect that home. So that’s why I choose not to talk bout my personal life. But there is without a doubt, no closet that I’ve ever been in, and I just wanted to make that clear, but it was most important for me to make that clear to you on your show at this time in the world. And that’s where I’m at."
Later, Ellen told Smollett she was proud of him.
Smollett joked, "I told Ellen. Who else do I need to tell?"
Watch Smollett's interview with Ellen below: