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PEOPLE LANCE BASS
Misha Japaridze  /  AP
Lance Bass of 'N Sync reveals he's gay in the upcoming July 28 issue of People magazine.
Access Hollywood
updated 7/27/2006 5:24:54 PM ET 2006-07-27T21:24:54

Gayle King and her best friend, Oprah, have gone out of their way to squash rumors that they're gay.

And if Oprah has to speak up when people start talking, you can imagine how hard it is for stars without as much power to do the same.

Especially when they are gay and aren't ready to talk about it.

Access Hollywood wanted to know what happens when stars are forced to declare their homosexuality publicly.

It's clear that Lance Bass of ’N Sync knew that his homosexuality could one day become the subject of tabloids speculation, so, he decided to take action.

“You know once you get in the business you know what you're getting into,” Lance told us in an earlier interview. “Unfortunately, if you don't want to be in the spotlight, get out of it.”

Lance was forced to make a very public statement on the cover of People after gossip guru Perez Hilton, who's openly gay, started posting articles in September 2005, outing Lance on his Web site.

“It upsets me that people think what I'm doing is a bad thing,” Perez told Access Hollywood. “I don't think it's a bad thing. If you know something to be a fact, why not report it? Why is that still taboo?”

On April 10, Perez intensified his Lance coverage once the 'N Sync star began dating the “Amazing Race's” Reichen Lemkel — giving them the offensive nicknames of “The First Reich” and “Princess Frosty Locks!”

“I know there is some controversy about outing people, but I also believe the only way we're gonna have change is with visibility,” Perez told Access. “And if I have to drag some people screaming out of the closet, then I will. I think that lot of celebrities have an archaic fear that being gay will hurt their career but look at Rosie. Look at Ellen.”

But both of those stars, and even Melissa Etheridge, managed to come out on their own terms, not to say that made it easy.

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Almost 10 years ago, right after her big coming-out episode on “Ellen,” the comedian told us the fear was intense.

“You have to be a strong person to take on this kind of pressure, and it is pressure,” Ellen explained.

But Rosie kept quiet, waiting until the end of her talk show, although the tabs had already begun printing stories about her relationship with partner Kelly.

“I think that before I was able to discuss my family and my life publicly, I wanted to be sure that this was the long term, forever relationship,” Rosie told Access Hollywood.

For Cynthia Nixon — Miranda of “Sex and the City” fame — the world didn't end when she was outed in the New York tabs.

And it's hardly a new dilemma.

Rock Hudson never came out of the closet.

And Richard Chamberlain (a heartthrob since the 1960s) only came out a few years ago and surprisingly, would never recommend it for young Hollywood.

“Oh it's still dangerous, it's still dangerous,” Richard told Access Hollywood. “If you are a young actor, I would never advise a young actor to come out. Society moves very slowly, you might say glacially. There's a long way to go, especially in America, perhaps only in America.”

“Being gay is not a death sentence for a performer in show business,” Perez said. “We need to get out of that mindframe. It's 2006 people!”

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