Raven-Symoné Feared Disney and 'Cosby Show' Fans Wouldn't React Well to Her Sexuality: 'Oh My God, Little Olivia's Gay?'

"I kind of pushed myself to open myself up to look for boys," Symoné said

Photo: Nathaniel Welch

Raven-Symoné is opening up about publicly embracing her sexuality after hiding it for many years to protect her career.

“I never thought I would come out because my personal life didn’t matter,” The View co-host shared in Lexus L/Studio‘s “It Got Better” docu-series. “It only mattered what could be sold as part of the Raven Symoné brand.”

Symoné began acting in 1989, landing the role of Olivia Kendall on The Cosby Show at age 3. She went on to headline Disney’s That’s So Raven (the most-watched show on the channel) and a series of specials for her girl group, The Cheetah Girls.

In the interview, Symoné, 30, admitted that she knew she was gay by the time she was 12 years old (and even had some awareness of it when she was “10, in the single digits”), but she tried to force herself to like boys. At the time, she even convinced herself that she would wind up marrying a man.

“I kind of pushed myself to open myself up to look for boys,” Symoné said.

When she turned 18, Symoné felt that her bucket list was complete, but something was missing. That was until she attended college at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

“I went to college. I felt good,” she said. “I had support there beyond belief, and that was the first time I felt like I didn’t have to have a beard. I didn’t have to have a man standing beside me because I [was] in love with a girl.”

Symoné then decided to come out to her parents – and the world.

“I felt lighter,” she recalled. “I felt like I could go out and not have to put on 17 different hats to be myself.

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