HGTV Stars Who Have Been Open About Their Sexuality

There's a reason why HGTV shows are so popular. Viewers love a good home makeover, and it doesn't hurt that the network's stars are quite likable. These shows really roll out the red carpet for their power couples, featuring dynamic duos like "Home Town's" own Ben and Erin Napier and "Married to Real Estate" stars Egypt Sherrod and Mike Jackson. After years of featuring only straight couples, HGTV took a step toward LGBTQIA+-friendly content when they hired husbands PJ and Thomas McKay for "Down to the Studs," which aired its pilot in 2017.

Keith Bynum and Evan Thomas became the next paired-up duo to star in "Bargain Block" and told Pride in October 2023 that they had just celebrated their 10th anniversary. "Ten years just evaporated. If I had gone into that first date knowing where we'd be sitting today, honestly, I mean who would have ever imagined that?" Since then, other openly LGBTQIA+ hosts have made their mark on HGTV, proudly sharing details about their relationships along the way.

Davina Thomasula and Kristin Leitheuser are new to the network

HGTV has been teasing their new show, "Small Town Potential," for almost a year, which finally premiered in March 2024. The renovation series will feature engaged couple Davina Thomasula and Kristin Leitheuser fixing up modest houses in the Hudson Valley, New York, area as they are transformed into more glamorous dwellings. Thomasula is a real estate agent, while Leitheuser is a contractor who works alongside her father, Don. Thomasula and Leitheuser have been a couple for nearly a decade, and the contractor told HGTV, "After college, I played on a New York City area recreational basketball team and once, after a game, we went to a bar because someone knew the bartender — who turned out to be Davina! I played it safe and ordered a Guinness ... and the rest is history." The duo is stoked to be an LGBTQIA+ couple on the network and Thomasula stated, "We're the only two queer-identifying female hosts."

It looks like "Small Town Potential" has been in the works for years. In August 2022, Thomasula wrote on Instagram, "This is what grateful looks like. Sitting in the experience of a lifetime and trying to just take it all in. What a ride so far. Coming soon to a [television] near you!" It seems their patience has finally paid off, and fans will at last witness Thomasula and Leitheuser team up to transform houses into dream homes.

Fans can't get enough of Evan Thomas and Keith Bynum

When "Bargain Block" premiered in 2021, viewers got a chance to see the couple, Evan Thomas and Keith Bynum, work together to restore houses around Detroit, Michigan. Since then, they have become an HGTV staple, and the two have scored a new spinoff series, "Bargain Block New Orleans," which is set to air in Fall 2024. Thomas and Bynum have been together for 10 years and engaged for five, but they're too busy to even think about planning a wedding. "It feels like we're married, so it's not something I'm constantly thinking of," Thomas told Pride. Being out on national television has certainly opened the eyes of many conservative viewers. As Bynum shared, "It is shocking the number of letters and emails that we get. We had a hilarious one that said, 'Hello. I'm a Republican, but I love your show and I love you guys. Thank you for showing us that there are normal relationships in the gay community.'"

However, it wasn't always easy for the native Texan. "My family went sideways when I came out...I love the South, but family dynamic in the South is different," Bynum revealed to People. Working in the construction industry as a gay man was tough on him, which prompted his decision to leave the Lone Star State. "That was the number one thing I said when I left there. I was like, 'One day I'm going to have a place and it will not matter," he explained.

David Bromstad's tattoos show off his love of the LGBTQIA+ community

Many fans can't think of HGTV without David Bromstad coming to their minds. The designer rose to fame as the winner of "HGTV Design Star" Season 1 and went on to star in "Color Splash." Bromstad has firmly established himself as the go-to guru of "My Lottery Dream Home," keeping the dream alive and kicking for an impressive 14 seasons. The HGTV star is openly gay, which he displays through his many tattoos. In 2020, he showed off his tattoo that spelled out, "Family," and stated, "Pride! More tatts to express how much I love my community, my family. The dabbing unicorn was just [too] cute and hilarious not to get!"

In 2013, Bromstad got pushback from fans for partnering up with the Salvation Army, despite allegations that the organization was anti-LGBTQIA+. He addressed the concerns in a post shared on Facebook. "I took the Salvation Army's request to participate in their fundraiser as one step in the right direction towards equality," Bromstad explained, adding, "If we simply separate ourselves from those that we assume [oppose] us or our beliefs then we will never make strides in the right direction. I applaud the Salvation Army's symbolic handshake towards acceptance and would be foolish to not extend my hand in acceptance." While he received mixed responses from fans, he has since continued to find success through his HGTV shows.

Carmine Sabatella's husband is a fellow real estate agent

Many HGTV fans may know Carmine Sabatella from the renovation series "Inside Out," in which he stars with landscape designer Mike Pyle. While many HGTV shows feature couples, Sabatella and Pyle are strictly business associates. "We have a mutual friend who introduced us when Carmine was looking for a landscaper for a big project he was working on in Pasadena," Pyle told HGTV. The network reached out to Pyle about an idea for a show featuring the outside elements as well as the inside, so he called up the interior designer and agent to star alongside him. Sabatella shared with HGTV that he's married to his husband Ryan Delair, who is a stepdad to his daughter Gianna.

Sabatella has used his platform to encourage others to be proud of their sexuality. "Anything that happens on the show that can encourage people out there to be more genuine, to be themselves, to not be fearful of holding someone's hand in public, or speaking the way they want to speak. You know, that to me then has done a huge job," he stated to Celebrity Page.

The HGTV star and Delair shared their fifth wedding anniversary in September 2023. "5 years married today and almost a decade together! It has been quite the ride," Sabatella shared on Instagram. "Thank you for being by my side and having my back through so many good and bad times," he gushed of his husband.

Brian Patrick Flynn had an epic wedding in Antarctica

Brian Patrick Flynn may be one of HGTV's biggest interior designers, but he was more of a behind-the-camera person before starring in "HGTV Urban Oasis" and "HGTV Dream Home." He told People, "I wanted to be a director." He discovered his talent for refinishing furniture he found on the curb and turning them into sellable pieces when he was trying to make extra cash during his film school days. "People bought every single thing. At that point a lot of my friends were like, 'We know you're passionate about the filmmaking thing, but you've got something here.' It turns out they were right," he added.

In 2017, Flynn married his partner of almost 10 years, costume designer Hollis Smith, during his dream trip to Antarctica. The two married in a private ceremony on an ice flow off of the ship they were staying on. "The most beautiful thing to us was when they brought the cake out, the passengers realized it was for a wedding between two men," Flynn recalled to Harper's Bazaar. "Many of them started crying and coming over — we didn't want the attention, but they supported us fully," he shared. Flynn and Smith had a reception with their loved ones when they returned to Atlanta. They celebrated their sixth anniversary on December 15, 2023.

Husbands Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent share a love of interior design

Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent are no strangers to starring in a show together. In 2017, they appeared side-by-side in TLC's "Nate & Jeremiah By Design," but the two designers are currently co-hosts of HGTV's "The Nate and Jeremiah Home Project." Berkus and Brent met in 2012 through designer Rachel Zoe and felt sparks fly while shopping for furniture. "I was sitting in a brown leather chair and we were just talking. And I remember thinking to myself, oh God, what is this? This is not what I thought it was," Brent recalled to People.

The HGTV stars married two years later and share two children, Poppy and Oskar. "Before that, I didn't think I was ever going to be married. I didn't think I was ever going to find love. I was like, 'I'm going to be alone with some dogs. I'm going to have a great life, a great sofa," Brent shared on the "Ideas of Order" podcast. Berkus, before striking gold with Brent, shared the same sentiment, saying, "I didn't think it was even an option. I didn't think that it was possible. At the time, gay marriage wasn't legal or recognized or common." Their two children were born via surrogate, and Berkus stated, "When they were born, we looked at each other and we knew that it was the convergence of social change, climate, political change, science, and opportunity."

Brian Balthazar and Loren Ruch went from behind the scenes to on-screen

Brian Balthazar and Loren Ruch worked as producers for quite a few HGTV shows — including "House Hunters" and "Flip or Flop" — before they made their appearance on "HGTV's House Party" in 2021. This time, instead of focusing on design and renovations, the two hosts sat down with fellow network stars to chat about their lives, all while sipping on cocktails.

It's unclear if Balthazar is in a relationship, but he was named one of the 50 most influential LGBT people in the entertainment industry in 2014 by Advocate. Ruch is happily married to his husband, David Salas, and the two currently reside in New York City. On December 30, 2023, Salas gave a shout-out to his longtime partner on Instagram, "How can it already be 27 years with this fabulous man? It almost seems unimaginable and yet nothing feels more natural! Happy Anniversary @davidsalasnyc and here's to 27 or MORE to come!"

Balthazar and Ruch opened up about what being gay meant to them in an HGTV special called "David Bromstad & More Discuss The Power Of Pride." Ruch shared, "Honestly, I was bullied a lot when I was a kid and I went through a lot of really tough times of people not seeing me the way I wanted to be seen myself." Balthazar added, "I really think it's about being your full authentic self and loving that and there is a level of happiness that only comes after you fully accept yourself for who you are."