This profile is part of Queerty’s 2023 Out For Good series, recognizing public figures who’ve had the courage to come out and make a difference in the past year.
Name: Wayne Brady, 51.
Bio: Brady’s start in community theater in the 1980s eventually took him from the Georgia countryside and into the bright lights of Hollywood. The five-time Emmy award winner received his start in national television on the sketch comedy competition “Kwik Witz,” and then became a featured performer in the British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? before becoming a regular cast member in the American version.
But why stop there?
Brady took his talents to daytime television, with the Emmy-Award winning Wayne Brady Show. From there, he expanded his hosting portfolio to include Don’t Forget the Lyrics and the revival of Let’s Make a Deal. With multiple TV and film appearances, a stint in the Tony Award-winning musical Kinky Boots, and a Grammy-nominated singing career, Brady continues to prove there’s nothing he can’t do.
Coming Out: Coming out is never easy at any age. But Brady took the leap this year to tell the world he’s a proud pansexual man in an exclusive interview with People.
With the support of his loving family, consisting of his ex-wife Mandie Taketa and daughter Maile, Brady let his true colors shine through.
“I am pansexual,” Brady said for People. “Bisexual — with an open mind!”
While Brady has married two women–Taketa in 1999 and Diana Lasso in 1993–he’s admitted he hasn’t had a chance to further explore his identity. But with a little research and a lot of support, Brady came to realize pansexual felt like the best label for him.
“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,” Brady said. “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, [transgender], or nonbinary. Being able to be attracted across the board. And, I think, at least for me for right now, that is the proper place.”
We love a man who isn’t afraid to explore who he truly is. Oh, did we mention his iconic coming out video on TikTok?
Just like in his career, Brady is willing to take the next step into becoming who he wants to be. But that wasn’t always the case. Brady once struggled with clinical depression, and after the passing of acclaimed actor Robin Williams, the 51-year-old decided to reflect deeply on how he could better himself.
“Once I opened that door to myself though, I had to start learning about myself, and I had to start owning up to things that maybe I’d either repressed, suppressed, or just didn’t wanna deal with. I gave joy at work. But the pity is then I come home, and I don’t have that joy,” Brady said. “And that’s when I realized that I had a problem because if I can spend everything on stage and on camera but then I come home and there is a love deficit, what is going on? That was my rock bottom.”
But Brady received the help he and many other queer people deserve. His mental health journey and his support system, including his daughter, ex-wife, and her partner Jason Fordham, will be front and center in their upcoming Hulu reality TV series. There, millions will be able to witness Brady’s strength and resolve as an out, proud, Black, pansexual man.
And while he still believes he has a lot more to work on, this version of Brady is his best. That’s because there is no character to play. He’s free to simply be himself.
“I’ve got some work to do still, he said. “Then, Wayne as a single, open-minded pansexual can make a decision and be free and open to other people.”