The “Queer Eye” culture guru and Jenna Johnson marked the show’s Disney night with an energetic samba to “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” from “The Lion King.” In an “Access Hollywood” interview that aired Monday, Brown said he dedicated the number to his sons, Jason and Chris, and was reminded of his once-estranged relationship with his own father.
Brown revealed on the show that, at age 17, he came out to his dad as gay, and their relationship was subsequently fractured.
“Growing up, my father was my hero. He called me his champion son,” the 38-year-old said. “But then, as I started to discover who I am, things changed dramatically. When I was 17 going on 18, I told him that I was gay.”
“It split the family apart and we didn’t speak for 10 years,” he added.
Fortunately, the pair have since reconciled. In fact, the elder Brown was in the audience for the “Dancing With the Stars” episode that aired Monday. After the show, he spent time with his son’s future husband, Ian Jordan, backstage.
Witnessing his father’s “growth,” Brown said, was a heartwarming experience.
“Never in my life did I think I would be on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ with my father, who didn’t accept me because I was gay,” he told “Entertainment Tonight.” “Now we’re in a journey of healing. It blows my mind.”
“As a young gay boy, I just wanted my father to love me for me, and he wasn’t in the space yet to do it,” he told “Access Hollywood.” “The fact that, years later in my late 30s, he could finally come around and say, ‘I love you and I support you,’ was big for me.”
Looking ahead, Brown is hopeful that parents who may be struggling to come to terms with their LGBTQ children’s sexuality or gender identity will find encouragement in his relationship with his father.
“I just hope that if there’s any parent out there who is maybe in a space like my father used to be, maybe they can see him and use him as inspiration to reach out to their child,” he said.