Everything Julianne Hough Has Said About Her Sexuality

Since rising to fame on Season 4 of "Dancing with the Stars" in 2007, Julianne Hough has had a series of high-profile boyfriends that include Ryan Seacrest and country singer Chuck Wicks. Hough went from girlfriend to wife in July 2017, when she married NHL star Brooks Laich after a nearly two-year engagement and three and a half years together. The marriage was short-lived, though. In May 2020, Hough and Laich announced their separation, with the pro dancer filing for divorce the following November.

Since her divorce, Hough has sparked dating rumors with quite a few men, among which are "Westworld" star Ben Barnes, hunky model Charlie Wilson, and "Animal Kingdom" star Tyler Lain. The speculation about a possible romance with Lain started on her Instagram in March 2023, when she shared photos of the two hugging and looking rather close. "Tyler, your light shines brighter than anyone I've ever known," she wrote as part of a long caption. Hough didn't address the first two but did address the third.

Shortly after her post, Hough headed to her Instagram Stories to put an end to the rumors. "For everyone assuming... Tyler is my BEST FRIEND! We are not in a relationship," she wrote. To most people looking in, Hough's relationship history looks pretty straightforward — she's just a straight gal who's dated several straight guys. But it's not that simple. In 2019, Hough first came clean about her sexuality to the public, though it was no secret to her loved ones.

Julianne Hough identifies as queer

Julianne Hough's sexuality isn't as black-and-white as it seems. Brooks Laich knew that before their split. Hough spent her late 20s and early 30s tapping into her authentic self. In her journey, she discovered her sexuality was more fluid than what she had previously allowed herself to believe. Hough involved her then-husband in the process. "I [told him], 'You know I'm not straight, right?' And he was like, 'I'm sorry, what?' I was like, 'I'm not. But I choose to be with you,'" she told Women's Health in 2019.

Though it was the first time Hough addressed her sexuality, she never meant to effectively come out. "I didn't really have a moment of like, 'I'm going to do this.' It just was," Hough told the New York Post in 2022. "I just said something and, you know, it just came out that way." In the interview, Hough shared she identifies as queer. Hough's still working to discover the whole truth about herself and is enjoying the person she's discovering.

And she doesn't think her transformation disavows who she was. "I've always been the girl next door, all-American sweetheart. And that's a version and a part of me, but it's not all of who I am, and I didn't even know that about me," she told People in 2019. "So the last few years have been about me picking up all parts of who I am and the parts that I've suppressed over probably 25 years."

Julianne Hough felt supported in her inner circle

Coming to terms with her sexuality was no easy feat for Julianne Hough. The "Footloose" star is a Utah native raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Everybody's [coming-out] experience is different, and I come from a Mormon background where ... it hasn't been looked at as something that's accepted," she opened up in the New York Post interview. But her truth was well accepted by her loved ones. "I know that my parents, my friends, my family love me, and they're proud of me. And so I had a really good experience," she detailed.

Hough knows her experience isn't the norm, though. "I feel really lucky and a lot of people who don't have the platform or support that I have aren't that lucky," she told Extra in August 2019, shortly after her Women's Health interview was published. "I just want to say I'm super grateful for my family, my friends, and the support from all the fans I've had." That includes support from her mother — despite her religious beliefs. "She is [proud of me]. She's amazing," Hough said.

Her brother, Derek Hough, was vocal about his support of his sister's journey. "Proud of you @juleshough. A beautiful article about shedding the protective walls that can imprison us," he captioned an Instagram post that included a photo of her Woman's Health cover. "A stunning artistic representation capturing the courage of realizing your true essence and strength."