10 Celebrities Who Waited To Come Out and the Top LGBT Friendly Retirement Destinations

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The legacy of discrimination against members of the LGBT community runs deep, and makes coming out a difficult decision for many, especially those living in the public eye and under the scrutiny of constant press attention and speculation.

Whether a star is afraid to share their truth, or simply doesn’t feel the need to share that side of their personal life with the public, it can be a life-changing experience for fans who might be struggling with their own sexuality when they do come out.

In order to analyze how progressive the laws and legislations are for elderly members of the LGBTQ+ community in different parts of the world, the pensions experts at money.co.uk have ranked the most LGBTQ+ friendly retirement destinations in Europe and the US. Alongside this report, money.co.uk has compiled the following list of high profile individuals who all made the decision to come out later on in life.

1. Barry Manilow

In 2017, legendary musician Barry Manilow revealed to the world that he was gay at the age of 73. The ‘Mandy’ singer shared that he was afraid for years that his fans “would be disappointed” if they learned the truth about his sexual orientation.

The notoriously private star also revealed that since 1978, he’d been in a committed relationship with his manager, Garry Kief, who he had also married in a small ceremony back in 2014.

2. Ellen Degeneres

In 1997, 38 year old Ellen DeGeneres appeared on a now iconic front cover of Time Magazine alongside the headline: “Yep, I’m gay”.

Two weeks later, the comedian openly discussed coming out, and her reasons behind doing so, in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Degeneres later told Oprah in 2015, “I didn’t think I was going to come out, period, I didn’t think I’d be coming out on a show, ever.”

“It was scary and crazy and what came out of listening to what I had been saying to myself was, ‘Would I still be famous, would they still love me if they knew I was gay?’ And my fear was that no, no they wouldn’t, and then it made me feel ashamed that I was hiding something. It made me feel ashamed that I couldn’t feel honest and really be who I am, and I just didn’t want to pretend to be somebody else anymore so that people would like me.”

3. George Michael

Despite being plagued by rumors regarding his sexuality for many years beforehand, British music icon George Michael announced he was gay following his 1998 arrest for engaging in “a lewd act” in front of an undercover police officer in Beverly Hills. He came out in April that year during an interview with Jim Moret for CNN.

Aged 34 at the time, the singer discussed how his first homosexual experience hadn’t taken  place until he was 27, and that he hadn’t been in a relationship with a woman for “more than 10 years.” He also disclosed that his later songs were “fairly obviously about men”.

4. George Takei

Japanese-American actor George Takei was best known for his role as Sulu on “Star Trek” back in the 1960’s, but in 2005, the 68 year old TV star announced he was gay.

Upon sharing his sexual orientation, George said, “The world has changed from when I was a young teen feeling ashamed for being gay,” The issue of gay marriage is now a political issue. That would have been unthinkable when I was young”.

George has been married to his longtime partner Brad Altman since 2008.

5. Jane Lynch

Actress Jane Lynch began her career back in 1988, and has stated in interviews that she never officially “came out” as she never felt she had to.

However, in an interview in 2015 at the age 54, Jane opened up about her sexuality for the first time. Outing others, she said, is “a horrible thing. You might be dealing with a very fragile part of someone’s psyche. So I think everybody has to go on their own path.”

The actress, who found mainstream success in 2009 playing the role of Sue Sylvester on Glee, thinks that her predecessors, like Rosie O’Donnell and K.D.lang (who came out in different eras), “cleared a path” that made it easier to live life on her own terms.

6. Neil Patrick Harris

Neil Patrick Harris has said he first realised he was gay on the set of “B.L. Stryker” in 1989 when, jokingly, Burt Reynolds gave him a kiss. However, it took Neil another 17 years before he felt comfortable sharing his sexuality with the world.

In 2006, the then 33-year-old “How I Met Your Mother” star had been dating his now-husband David Burtka for three years, and released a statement that said, “I am happy to dispel any rumours or misconceptions, and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love.”

In 2014, Neil and David married, and share twins Harper and Gideon, now ten years old.

7. Ricky Martin

Latin pop singer Ricky Martin had faced speculation about his sexuality for a long period of time before he came out as gay aged 38, in 2010. “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am,” Martin wrote on his website at the time.

In early 2016, he began dating Jwan Yosef. The two announced their engagement later that year on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. In 2018, Martin announced that he and Yosef were married.

On December 31, 2018, Martin and Yosef announced the birth of their daughter Lucia Martin-Yosef.

8. Sir Ian McKellen

When Sir Ian KcKellen came out at the age of 49 in 1988, he had already been a star of the stage and screen for almost a quarter of a century. Best known for his roles as Magneto in the “X-Men” franchise and Gandalf in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, the British actor said acting was his “disguise”, but that homophobic legislation in the UK at the time inspired him to speak out and “tell the truth”.

Years later, Ian went on to say, “I regret – and always shall – that I didn’t see the significance of coming out at a much earlier date, because I think I would have been a different person and a happier one.”

9. Victor Garber

Canadian actor Victor Joseph Garber, best known for his roles in Titanic and Legally Blonde, spoke openly about his sexuality in a 2013 interview at the age of 63, though he explained that he was never in the closet to begin with.

In fact, a year prior, Victor had publicly mentioned his partner (now husband), artist Rainer Andreesen, saying they’d lived together for “almost 13 years in Greenwich Village.” Still, the news was touted as his official “coming out” and widely celebrated.

10. Wentworth Miller

In 2013, Prison Break star Wentworth Miller, who had been acting since 1998, penned a letter to the director of the St. Petersburg Film Festival, informing him he wouldn’t be in attendance because of how gay people were being treated in Russia.

His letter was later posted on GLAAD’s website, founded as a protest against defamatory coverage of LGBT people. His letter said, “As someone who has enjoyed visiting Russia in the past and can also claim a degree of Russian ancestry, it would make me happy to say yes. However, as a gay man, I must decline. I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government.”

Wentworth, who was 41 at the time, later shared that coming out to the public made him feel “more fully expressed.”

Top LGBTQ+ friendly retirement destinations ranked here.