Country singer T.J. Osborne is feeling freer now than he ever expected to after publicly coming out as gay.
Following the 36-year-old Brothers Osborne frontman sharing his story in a TIME magazine interview on Wednesday, Feb. 3, he opened up during his Feb. 4 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show about the intense emotions associated with this journey.
"Just hearing you say that just honestly made me so emotional," the performer said in a preview video from the episode after host Ellen DeGeneres mentioned in his introduction that he had just come out. "I'm trying not to cry on national television right now."
T.J. explained that this has been a new experience for him, given that he is not typically one to share much about his personal life.
"I think it's kind of the really beautiful thing in all of this for me is, I've really never come out to very many people," he shared. "I've only done it to a few people, mainly because I find it just really awkward and uncomfortable. And so 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, which was in some ways nice, in other ways just made for a very emotional day."
The seven-time Grammy nominee explained that he wasn't sure when the right time would be to come out, but that he now knows there was no reason to feel he would need to wait.
"I kinda got to this point to where I knew there was really never going to be the perfect time, and that honestly, now that I'm kinda behind it now with the coming out, it's wild to me that the perfect time is always now," T.J. said. "I instantaneously felt that I wish I had done this a long time ago."
Ellen brought up that country music can be perceived as the genre of music that might be less accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, as T.J. is the first openly gay artist signed to a major country record label. The singer pointed out that while he thinks the country scene has become far more inclusive than it had been, he will be interested to see what the response is when he performs concerts outside of major cities.
"I'm curious to see how it all plays out with us going to rural America," he said. "I think there are some people out there ... there's a lot of hurdles, clearly, with people that don't like gay people, and it's just a thing. But in some respects, I do feel like maybe through my insecurities, I've built it up to maybe be a bigger hurdle than it was the whole time."