‘Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett on His Sexuality: ‘There’s Never Been a Closet That I’ve Been In’ (Video)

The actor and singer also spoke about his response to hateful messages on social media

“Empire” breakout Jussie Smollett has been reluctant to talk about his personal life — until now.

In a backstage interview on “The Ellen Degeneres Show,” Smollett, who plays gay character Jamal Lyons on the hit Fox series, said, “There is no closet. There’s never been a closet that I’ve been in.

“I don’t own a closet, I own a dresser. 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 also thanked Degeneres for her work in supporting the LGBT community.

During his on-air interview, Smollet acknowledged the hateful tweets he’s received since his character came out on the show, insisting that “sometimes you gotta clap back.”

“I’m a firm believer that people cannot get away with murder, although I love ‘How to Get Away with Murder,’” Smollett joked before declaring more seriously, “but you cannot allow people to just spew hate.”

To watch the backstage segment, click here.

To watch Smollett’s interview click here