Stars who refuse to define their sexuality

There's gay, there's straight, there's bisexual … and there's plenty of celebrities who refuse to identify as any of these. 

Whether that's a sign of the times or a welcome byproduct of our rapidly evolving culture, there's no denying this growing trend among young stars such as Ezra Miller, Shay Mitchell, and Harry Styles (although plenty of veteran players like James Franco aren't averse to playing up their sexual ambiguity, either.)

These non-conformist entertainers all have one thing in common: They refuse to be pigeonholed or have their sexuality put in a box, and they won't subscribe to outmoded ideas regarding sexuality and gender. It's a phenomenon that's only going to become more pronounced in the years to come: A 2017 study suggests less than half of Americans aged 13 to 20 identify as strictly heterosexual. 

File this under "Stars who refuse to define their sexuality" — but no labels, please. 

Josh Hutcherson doesn't need your stinkin' labels

Referring to yourself as "mostly straight" doesn't sound particularly gutsy in this day and age, but if you're a celebrity of Josh Hutcherson's caliber, how you define your sexuality — or don't define your sexuality — can be hugely impactful. 

Speaking to Out in 2013, the Hunger Games star spoke candidly about never knowing his two gay uncles, both of whom died of AIDS in the 1990s. One of them "died the day after my mom told him she was pregnant with me," Hutcherson told Out. "She was really sad that I never got to meet them. I am, too — they sound amazing."

As for his own sexuality, Hutcherson is quite comfortable in his own skin. He tells Out he'd "probably list" himself as "mostly straight." Building on that theme, he says, "In a f***ing year, I could meet a guy and be like, 'Whoa I'm attracted to this person. I've met guys all the time that I'm like, 'Damn, that's a good-looking guy.' I've never been, like, 'Oh, I want to kiss that guy.' I really love women. But I think defining yourself as 100 percent anything is kind of near-sighted and close-minded."

His remarks spread like wildfire across the internet, even inspiring the title of Ritch C. Savin-Williams' 2017 book Mostly Straight: Sexual Fluidity Among Men

Hutcherson certainly practices what he preaches. The young actor co-founded the Straight But Not Narrow "ally awareness campaign."

Kristen Stewart likes to switch it up

There's sexual fluidity, and then there's Kristen Stewart, an actress whose preferences morph every time she lands a magazine cover. 

"Google me, I'm not hiding," she taunted Nylon in 2015 when asked to define her sexuality. "If you feel like you really want to define yourself, and you have the ability to articulate those parameters and that in itself defines you, then do it. I don't feel like it would be true for me to be like, 'I'm coming out!'"

But coming out is exactly what she did when hosting Saturday Night Live in February 2017. Stewart earned thunderous applause during her opening monologue when she mumbled "I'm, like, so gay dude." Asked why she suddenly decided to come out on SNL, Stewart told Entertainment Weekly: "I've been talking about it for a really long time! I've lived pretty openly."

A few months later  — now we're in August 2017  — Stewart said coming out as gay wouldn't dissuade her from dating men, whom she compared to delicious grilled cheese sandwiches. Asked by Harper's Bazaar UK whether she'd still consider being intimate with a man, Stewart replied, "Yeah, totally. Definitely … Some people aren't like that. Some people know that they like grilled cheese and they'll eat it every day for the rest of their lives. I want to try everything. If I have grilled cheese once I'm like, 'That was cool, what's next?'" 

A warm cup of tomato soup?

​Tom Hardy thinks questions about sexuality are 'inelegant'

To promote his 2008 crime caper RocknRolla, actor Tom Hardy posed for the cover of Attitude (via Defamer), a gay magazine that asked if he'd ever slept with men. "As a boy? Of course I have," he reportedly responded. "I've played with everything and everyone." 

Two years later, Hardy opened up to Now (via the Daily Mail) about his gender: "'I feel intrinsically feminine … Maybe my masculine qualities come from overcompensating because I'm not one of the boys."

And maybe his increased public profile came with a new, hyper-controlling publicist. Recent interviews suggest the father of two wants to distance himself from those earlier soundbites. In 2011, he told Marie Claire UK he'd been misquoted (via Radar Online): "It's just a shame things are misconstrued and I don't get the opportunity to explain," he said — although wouldn't Marie Claire UK be the perfect place to explain?

That wasn't the last of it, either. During a 2015 press conference at the Toronto Film Festival, Daily Xtra's Graeme Coleman asked Hardy if he found it difficult to talk about his sexuality. Hardy ixnayed the line of questioning, telling Entertainment Weekly it was "rude." 

"That really, really annoyed me," he told Entertainment Weekly. "It was just the inelegance of being asked in a room full of people. … I'm confident in my own sexuality … and talking about any issue you want to talk about. But there is a time and a place for that." 

Apparently, that time was 2008.

Shay Mitchell is down with dating polka-dot people

All you lonely polka-dot people out there, take heed: Shay Mitchell would totally date you. 

In 2016, a journalist at Cosmopolitan asked the former Pretty Little Liars actress to define her sexuality, but Mitchell refused to wrap her preferences up in a tidy little bow: "When I started, people were like, 'What are you?' I'm like, Right now, I'm dating a guy. I don't know what it's going to be in three years." 

Her philosophy, in a nutshell: "You love who you love. Black, white, polka dot. … I'm never going to label myself. I could be fifty and dating a woman and then what? I said I was straight, and now I'm not?'" 

Apparently, her parents' open-mindedness rubbed off on Mitchell in a big way: "If 
I started dating a girl tomorrow, I could text my dad, 'Bringing new girlfriend over.' It wouldn't even be deserving of a phone call."

From the moment Mitchell signed on to play Pretty Little Liars' super-sporty, openly gay Emily Fields, she's been fielding these kinds of questions. In 2017, she told Maxim, "People always ask me, 'You play a gay character? Are you gay? Are you straight? Are you this? Are you that?'" But once again, Mitchell proved unwilling to give a definitive answer: "I fall in love with the spirit of somebody. Love is love, and that's something that I'll keep saying."

That much is clear.

Ezra Miller has been 'trying to figure out relationships, you know?'

While making a name for himself in Hollywood, "folks in the industry" reportedly told Ezra Miller he shouldn't come out under any circumstances. The Justice League star roundly ignored the advice, telling Out in 2012 that he's "queer" and "very much in love with no one in particular. I've been trying to figure out relationships, you know?" 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower star prefers keeping his definition of "queer" deeply personal and ambiguous: "My friends and I use that word as an all-encompassing banner and for every human being," he told The Advocate in 2013, explaining that "it's generational in the way that that term is newly available in a certain way." At the very least, it means he doesn't feel comfortable identifying as strictly heterosexual. (Fun fact: As a youngster, he realized he liked kissing boys around the same time he realized he loved opera.)

Industry insiders told Miller he'd committed career suicide with that Out interview. "They said there's a reason so many gay, queer, gender-fluid people in Hollywood conceal their sexual identity," Miller told ShortList in 2017. "I was told I had done a 'silly' thing in … thwarting my own potential to be a leading man." 

Well, Miller's subsequent roles in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the Fantastic Beasts films strongly implies these "folks in the industry" should take a hike.

Kesha thinks it's about the spirit, not the gender

Kesha loves people. In 2013, the pop star told Seventeen (via the Daily Mail) that she won't play favorites when it comes to the sexes. "I don't just love men," she said. "I love people. It's not about a gender. It's just about the spirit that exudes from that other person you're with." 

In case you're wondering how she feels about labels, she doesn't like them. "I wouldn't say I'm gay or straight — I don't like labeling things, anyway. I just like people."

She particularly doesn't like labeling gay people, who make up a huge percentage of her fan base. In 2016, the "Die Young" performer attended the 21st annual Human Rights Campaign Nashville Equality Dinner, abruptly bursting into tears while accepting the Visibility Award. Her acceptance speech traced her love of the LGBTQ community back to her days as a "misfit" high school student: "Back then we didn't know what LGBT meant. We just knew we got bullied for being ourselves, shamed for being different and encouraged to hide the things that made us unique."

In a personal essay written for Refinery29, the pop star admitted she named her 2017 comeback album Rainbow as a tribute to the gay community: It's "symbolic for the LGBTQ community, a sign of freedom to be yourself and celebrate who you are no matter what anyone else thinks." 

As of this writing, she's dating a man named Brad Ashenfelter, whom she calls "such a pure soul" and "a really sweet human being." 

Harry Styles on sex with men: 'Don't knock it 'til you try it'

Pop star Harry Styles doesn't think of sexuality in black and white terms. Praising Miley Cyrus for announcing her pansexuality in 2016, the performer told The Sun, "Being in a creative field, it's important to be ­progressive. People doing stuff like that is great." But does Styles … do stuff like that?

"It's weird for me," he said. "Everyone should just be who they want to be. It's tough to justify having to answer to someone else about stuff like that." Wait … what kind of stuff are we talking about, exactly?

In the same interview, the former One Direction member said he sees no reason to label his sexuality. "I've never felt the need to, really. No. I don't feel like it's something I've ever felt like I have to explain about myself." Perhaps he likes to keep his fan base guessing/hoping. 

On the subject of sex with men, Styles has said: "Don't knock it 'til you try it." Back in 2013, GQ asked him about his relationship with television personality Nick Grimshaw. Styles insisted they were "just friends." Asked if was bisexual, Styles coyly responded, "Bisexual? Me? I don't think so. I'm pretty sure I'm not."

In 2014, Styles and former bandmate Liam Payne were asked in an interview with Ode Entertainment to name their "favorite traits" in a lady. Payne quipped they had to be "female." Styles' answer? "Eh, that's not important." Cheeky!

Amandla Stenberg's sexual identity is compellingly complicated

Amandla Stenberg has tried on an impressive amount of labels for someone who claims not to like them. A self-professed "intersectional feminist," the actor initially came out as bisexual in a 2016 video for Snapchat and Teen Vogue: "It's a really, really hard thing to be silenced," Stenberg lamented, "and it's deeply bruising to fight against your identity and to mold yourself into shapes that you just shouldn't be in."

Apparently the bisexual shape didn't fit, either. "I would also use the word pansexual to describe my sexuality because I'm attracted to people regardless of their gender expression or gender identity," the Hunger Games star said in a 2016 Rookie Q&A. That same year, Stenberg told Elle UK that she only uses the term "bisexual" for "people who aren't familiar with the vocabulary." But at the end of the day, she's down on the term "bisexual" because "it implies a dichotomy that doesn't take into account trans people." Where that leaves her sexual identity is unclear as of press time. 

Ultimately, Stenberg refuses to pigeonhole her sexuality or her gender, telling Teen Vogue, "I'm allowed to explore myself." For now, the entertainer feels most comfortable identifying as "nonbinary" and would prefer you don't use "he" or "she" pronouns when describing they: "They/them makes me feel comfortable." For today, anyway.

Demi Lovato is going to pass on that question, but thanks

When pop star Demi Lovato was seen holding hands with DJ Lauren Abelini during a 2017 trip to Disneyland, the media wanted to know if the "Sorry Not Sorry" singer officially identified as bisexual. (The fact that her just-released single "Cool for the Summer" featured lyrics like "got a taste for the cherry" only fanned the flames.) Lovato was unwilling to address her sexuality in any straightforward way, telling PrideSource, "I love who I love." Asked to elucidate, she told the magazine, "Thanks for the opportunity, but I think I'm gonna pass. … I like to keep my personal life as private as possible when it comes to dating and sexuality and all that stuff, just because it has nothing to do with my music." (Even if you write lyrics like "Tell me what you want, what you like, it's OK / I'm a little curious, too"?)

She remained similarly tight-lipped talking about "Cool for the Summer" with Alan Carr on Chatty Little Manwho asked if the song was about being a lesbian. "I'm not confirming and I'm definitely not denying," she replied. "All of my songs are based off of personal experiences. I don't think there's anything wrong with experimentation at all." 

The closest we get to a definitive answer is in the documentary Simply Complicated: "I am open to human connection, so whether that's through a male or female, it doesn't matter to me," she says in the film.

James Franco likes to keep everyone guessing

Actor/director James Franco confirmed he's gay in 2015 — but only in his art. Talking to Four Two Nine (via E! Online) in 2015, the Planet of the Apes star said, "I like to think that I'm gay in my art and straight in my life. Although, I'm also gay in my life up to the point of intercourse, and then you could say I'm straight. So I guess it depends on how you define gay." It also depends on how you define "intercourse," no?

Franco loves exploiting the whole "Is he or isn't he?" paradigm for his amusement and everyone else's consternation: "I like my queer public persona," he said. "I like that it's so hard to define me and that people always have to guess about me. They don't know what the hell is up with me, and that's great. Not that I do what I do to confuse people, but as long as they are confused, I get time to play."

He elaborates in a deliberately vexing 2016 interview with New York magazine: "If your definition of gay and straight is who I sleep with, then I guess you could say I'm a gay c**k tease. It's where my allegiance lies, where my sensibilities lie, how I define myself." (Except he didn't define himself at all.)

Just to be that way, Franco later claims: "Yeah, I'm a little gay, and there's a gay James." So … is gay James available for an interview?