Jason Collins’s parents had to change the way they thought about both the past and the future when he told them he was gay – but not in the way that counted the most.
Paul and Portia Collins both say they were shocked at their son’s revelation. But they supported him almost from the moment he told them.
“Part of the process, after he told us, was to go home and kind of let it resonate, for the two of us to talk about it,” Portia tells Oprah Winfrey in an interview airing Sunday on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
“And on the way home we called him. And on the way home we said, ‘We love you.’ ”
Still, the news – which would make headlines worldwide when the NBA player, 34, came out publicly, becoming the first active male athlete in a major U.S. sport to do so – left his parents questioning things they thought they knew.
“You’re going through a lot of different checklists. ‘Did you see this?’ ‘Did you think this?’ No,” Portia says.
Paul says he had to change his whole idea of what Jason’s future would hold. “You have these things [that you think about]: ‘He’ll eventually get married.’ ‘He’s waiting for the end of his career to do that,’ ” Paul says. “And you just expect that that’s going to happen. ‘He’ll have children,’ and whatever it might be. And then … you change from that.”
Collins himself, who said "a huge weight has been lifted" since he came out, will also speak to Oprah during the special, airing Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT.
Other guests will include his twin brother Jarron Collins, sister-in-law Elsa Collins, and the first family member he came out to, his aunt Teri Jackson.