TJ Osborne Says He Feels 'Incredibly Loved' After Coming Out as Gay: 'I Did Not Expect It'
The Brothers Osborne musician came out in an interview with Time on Wednesday
After an "emotional day," TJ Osborne is happy to finally be out.
"It has been a really wild experience, to have come out to very few people — although a lot of my friends and family knew already — to then kind of come out publicly in one big fell swoop," TJ, 36, said, adding, "which was, in some ways, nice, in other ways, it's made for a very emotional day."
The singer, who forms the country duo with his older brother John Osborne, told host Ellen DeGeneres that 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," TJ said. "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."
"Right now, I feel so incredibly loved and it's one of those things where I'm like, 'God, I wish I could shared this love with other people.' And then to have people that I never even expected to say anything, reaching out to me. People that I feel like personify masculinity and the straight culture to the nth degree, coming out with a lot of pride for me," he continued. "That was really the moment to me that made me feel like, 'Wow, that was there the whole time.'"
"I instantaneously felt like I wish I had done this a long time ago," TJ said earlier in the interview.
However, the "Stay a Little Longer" singer said he's aware of the new challenges he may face as a gay country artist.
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"I think country comes from a lot of rural roots that are a lot of Christianity and a lot of an old school way of thinking, but I really think that's changed a lot over the years. I know it's changed a lot over the years," he said. "I'm really curious to see how it plays out with us going to rural America. I feel pretty confident going to places like L.A. and Chicago and playing here in Nashville, where I live. You know I'm curious to see how it is in the rural counties and such."
During his interview with Time, TJ also touched on his worry about coming out in an industry that leans conservative. He is now the only openly gay artist signed to a major country label.
"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."
"People will ask, 'Why does this even need to be talked about?' and personally, I agree with that," he later added. "But 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!' "
In the interview, TJ explained that he told his brother John, 38, he was gay around the time the two moved to Nashville after signing a publishing and record deal. John also spoke to the outlet about learning about his brother's sexuality, recalling how "emotional" he was when TJ was "finally able to be completely honest with me about who he was."
"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," John said.
John later shared a video on Instagram, saying it's "an honor to call him my brother" after this important moment in his life.
"I'm very proud of my brother today. He's taken one of the most important steps of his entire life," he said in the video. "And he's doing it in front of the entire world. He's always had my support no matter what."