American actor and television personality Wayne Brady has opened up about his sexuality.
In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, the star revealed that he identifies as pansexual – which is defined as being attracted to an individual regardless of their gender.
“In doing my research, both with myself and just with the world, I couldn’t say if I was bisexual, because I had to really see what that was, especially because I really have not gotten a chance to act on anything,” he explained.
“So I came to pansexual because — and I know that I’m completely messing up the dictionary meaning — but to me, pan means being able to be attracted to anyone who identifies as gay, straight, bi, transsexual or non-binary.
“I took pan to mean that not only can I be attracted to any of these people or types physically, but I could be attracted to the person that is there.”
Brady, a five-time Emmy winner, currently hosts the revival of the game show Let’s Make a Deal.
He also starred as Billy Flynn in Chicago and Lola in Kinky Boots – both on Broadway – and made recurring appearances on How I Met Your Mother, The Bold and the Beautiful and The Good Fight.
Although Brady said he’s “been attracted to men” in his life, he has never dated one as a result of his less-than-tolerant upbringing.
“I live in today’s world, and it’s scary as s–t. What’s the fastest way to hurt another man? I’m gonna call you out of your name. I’m gonna call you gay. I’m gonna emasculate you. I’m gonna use the F-word,” he said.
“I learned that very early from the people around me, they’re like, “Oh, so those are bad things? Yeah. You, you don’t wanna be that.
“So, what does it mean if I feel something? I don’t think I’m gay, but what if I feel something for another [man]… That’s still gay. I was already bullied about a bunch of other s–t. I didn’t wanna add a top hat on top of that suit.”
Brady decided to keep his sexuality to himself, eating a metaphorical ‘shame cake every single day’. While he boasts a “wonderful” community of LGBTQ+ friends, he still felt like a “sham” because he wasn’t living authentically.
“I could speak out about Black issues because I can’t hide that. And you can play at being an ally, but until the day that you can truly say, “This is who I am, and I wanna stand next to you,” that’s not… I always wanted that day to come,” he continued.
“I’ve told myself in the past, also, nobody needs to know my personal business. The world can absolutely go without knowing that Wayne identifies as pan. But that gave me license to still live in the shadows and to be secretive.”
At age 51, he’s finally ready to be “the most Wayne Brady I can be”: “I don’t know about most, actually. I’m still coming together. But If I’m healthy, then I can go onstage at Let’s Make A Deal and be the best Wayne Brady that everybody wants and expects.”
He concluded by saying he will be the “best dad” to his daughter Maile, “best friend” to his ex-wife Mandie Taketa, “best son” to his mother “and one day, the best partner to someone, because I’m doing this for me”.
Brady also revealed that he is single and isn’t looking for a commitment (yet), because he still has “work to do” on himself. In the meantime, he’s celebrating his new life as an out pansexual who can “make a decision and be free and open to other people”.
You can read Wayne Brady’s coming-out interview here.