It's in to be "out" on Ellen.

Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson, appearing as Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson, will declare on an episode of the ABC sitcom, scheduled to be taped tonight for November 19 broadcast, that she's gay.

Not that it's any of our business, but Thompson, most recently romantically linked with Sense & Sensibility costar Greg Wise, isn't reallygay, says an ABC spokeswoman. She's just playing gay, playing herself, on TV.

Okay, so, if Thompson isn't gay, why is she saying she is on a TV show? The British-born star's spokesperson couldn't be reached for comment Friday, but here's one guess: She's an actor. She's acting.

An ABC spokesperson says, "You'd have to really want to believe" Thompson was a lesbian to be convinced of such after watching the episode. The actress' "I'm gay" statement is one of two revelations she issues for the purpose of punchlines on the show. No word on what the second scoop is.

Harking back to Ellen's original, star-studded "coming out" episode (featuring Demi Moore, k.d. lang, Laura Dern and Billy Bob Thornton), actor-director Sean Penn also is supposed to be on hand for Emma Thompson's statement, which, not so coincidentally airs right in the middle of November sweeps.

Thompson, who split with master thespian Kenneth Branagh in 1995 after six years of marriage, once told a newspaper she felt "very fortunate and privileged" to be raised with the help of two gay godfathers and a gay uncle.

Not that it's any of our business.


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