If you're glued to your television every Wednesday night watching Fox’s hit series Empire like we are, you know episode 8, “Lyon’s Roar,” was a huge revealing moment for character Jamal Lyon, played by actor Jussie Smollett.

After much dismay and scrutiny from his father Lucious, Jamal comes out as gay. Not too long after the episode aired, Smollett decided to address his own sexuality. After taping his appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, he asked the host and LGBT activist for an exclusive sit-down backstage. He explains why he never addressed rumors that he is gay.

“There's never been a closet that I've been in. I don't own a closet, I got a dresser, but I don't have a closet, but I have a home and that is my responsibility to protect that home. ... So that's why I choose not to talk about my personal life,” Smollett tells DeGeneres.

“But there is without a doubt, no closet that I've ever been in, and I just wanted to make that clear, but it was most important for me to make that clear to you on your show at this time in the world. And that's where I'm at. ... So, let's not read into it in the wrong way when I say that I don't talk about my personal life, I'm saying that. But it is in no way to hide or deny who God made me."

For Smollett, choosing DeGeneres’ platform to share his story was pivotal.” It was very important to me that my first talk show was with you," Smollett shares. "You've been such an inspiration to so many and also to me. What you've done to the LGBT community is like what Michael Jackson did with the black community.”

Watch Smollett play Jamal Lyon on Fox's Empire Wednesdays at 9 PM/EST.

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