Although they both acknowledge that there were some signs along the road, TJ and John Osborne can both still clearly recall the emotional moment when TJ came out to his brother as gay.
While TJ, 37, claimed that he finally opened up to John, 40, at a restaurant in Nashville around the time they signed their first record deal, John revealed that he had an inkling. The country music stars and bandmates of Brothers Osborne sat down for an interview on SiriusXM’s Exit 209 with Storme Warren’s podcast.
John said, “As his older brother, you just sort of know, but it’s not my place to inquire.” TJ responded, “When you saw my internet history, you kind of knew,” in jest.
“Yeah. I thought, “Wow.” Interesting, “John retorted with laughter.
Although TJ claimed to have known he was gay “before I even understood what it was,” he admitted that he had “never discussed it with anyone” and that the time was finally perfect for him to come out as the band’s career took off. The brothers signed with EMI Records Nashville in 2012, however, it’s unclear when their conversation took place.
He remembered saying, “Hey, before we sign this and we kind of get twisted up, contractually entangled in anything, you need to know that this is a thing that I need to tell you about me that I think you might know, but I also want you to know that I do intend on coming out at some point. “I’m not sure when that will be, but I don’t want to live a secret existence.”
“I knew I wanted to tell John then, and at that point, I had come out to a select people I thought really needed to know, but beyond that, I just kind of just did my thing, and John was always obviously tremendously supportive of that,” he continued.
The people I’m closest to in my life are my brother, my wife [Lucie], and my family, and you have to be honest and open with those people, which allows you to be vulnerable, which is where real life happens, isn’t it? “It’s not my place to pry or ask, but I knew eventually he would have to tell me for him, you know?” John uttered.
John Osborne claimed that during their conversation, he was overtaken with emotion, mostly joy that TJ felt comfortable telling him. As TJ had never publicly been in a relationship but appeared to be aware of them and had the ability to write about love, the man claimed he had long since “deduced” his brother’s sexual orientation.
“Well, you don’t have to worry TJ because the other member of your band is a raging heterosexual, so I’m here to balance you out,” he recalls adding to ease the awkward tension. After that, we just had drinks and I felt such delight and joy for him; it was a lovely, beautiful night. I just wanted to say anything to make someone laugh.
TJ came out officially in Time magazine in February 2021, claiming that all Brothers Osborne song lyrics are and will stay gender neutral.
The “Skeletons” singer attended the 2021 CMA Awards in November with his girlfriend Abi Ventura, with whom he is currently in a relationship. After Brothers Osborne won vocal duet of the year, the two exchanged a celebratory kiss in a noteworthy event.
TJ admitted that it took him “a lot longer” than he anticipated to come out, but the musician insisted that he knew he wanted to do it “at the height of his career.”
“Then again, how in the world do you know when your career is at its peak? You know, you really don’t realize that until you’re already on your way down, at which point it’s too late “said he. Therefore, I didn’t want it to appear that it was being opportunistic or trying to garner headlines in order to attract attention.
The musician nonetheless expressed his satisfaction that his announcement “went off really, really nicely.”
The duo, who earlier this year won a Grammy for outstanding country duet/group performance, published their third studio album Skeletons in 2020. The song “Younger Me,” which was created after TJ came out and focused on his experience coming to grips with his situation, helped them win the competition.