Music superstar T.J. Osborne of the group the Brothers Osborne has come out as gay, making him the only openly gay artist signed to a major country label.
The 36-year-old made the big announcement in an interview with Time, revealing that he’s known for years and has been out to his family members — including his brother and bandmate John Osborne.
“I’m very comfortable being gay,” he told the outlet. “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.” T.J. said the reason he didn’t come out publicly sooner was that he didn’t see a reason to.
The singer admitted that his biggest worry is how news of his sexuality will be received by his fans. “I don’t think I’m going to get run off the stage in Chicago,” he shared, adding “but in a rural town playing a county fair? I’m curious how this will go.”
After the news came out, fans, fellow country stars and celebs began showering T.J. with love and support.
“Overcome with joy. He’s one of my best friends and one of the bravest people I know. Love you, TJ. Celebrating you today,” superstar Kacey Musgraves wrote on twitter, while singer Ryan Hurd tweeted: “Love you, TJ OSBORNE! Proud to know you and thankful for your story!”
Country icon LeAnn Rimes showed her support for the singer, writing, “TJ, I hope you feel so supported today. It’s a brave thing to be wholly you in a world and industry that would rather you hide pieces of you behind a mask. #lgbtq #whollyloved.”
Lesbian songstress Chely Wright gushed, “Well done, T.J. Osborne. You’re nobody’s whisper anymore. You have just changed and saved a whole lot of lives; chief among them, your own,” while singer Michelle Branch said, “Proud of you, T.J @brothersosborne.”
After his big announcement, T.J. opened up to host Ellen DeGeneres’ on Thursday, telling her it was “a weight off” his shoulders to finally come out, and that he did not expect the outpouring of support he received.
“I expected a wave of love from family and friends. I did not expect it to feel the way it felt,” he said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “I think it’s one thing when you just know and assume people love you, and it’s different when you hear it and when you hear it with sincerity.”