AceShowbiz - Brothers Osborne star T.J. Osborne has "come out" as gay.
The country singer has been open about his sexuality with his family and close friends for years, but he has decided to share his personal preferences with fans now because he no longer wants to feel "stifled" while enjoying his career success.
T.J., 36, told Time magazine, "I'm very comfortable being gay. 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."
The "Stay a Little Longer" musician still finds it odd to have to go public with his sexuality, but understands the process is required before he decides to take a boyfriend as his date to a red carpet event, "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!' "
T.J. is "curious" about how some fans in more rural parts of the U.S. will react to his announcement, but he had become sick of having to hide such an important part of his life from the spotlight.
"It was so lonely and isolating," he said of his years as a closeted gay man. "It made me resent people."
However, the coronavirus shutdown gave T.J. time to mull over his situation, and he realised there would never be a perfect time to "come out," so there was no point in continuing to hide.
"I want to get to the height of my career being completely who I am," he explained. "I mean, I am who I am, but I've kept a part of me muted, and it's been stifling."
And, despite the professional risks T.J. has taken by sharing his sexuality in an industry known for cherishing traditional family values, his brother and bandmate, John Osborne, couldn't be more supportive, "If I had to have all my money and success erased for my brother to be truly fulfilled in life, I wouldn't even think about it. Not for a second."
The artists hope the news will allow them to explore new creative ideas when it comes to songwriting.
"It's not that I want to write a song that starts... 'Hey, boy...,'" T.J. shared. "But the worst thing for creativity is to have boundaries."
He even delves into the inspiration behind fan favourite "21 Summer", revealing it was based on his first real heartbreak, which he suffered through alone, because he had yet to "come out" to his loved ones - and it's a track which still makes him emotional.
"There are so many times I've sung that song and wanted to cry," he said. "People love that song, but the emotion of it is deeper than they even realise."