T.J. Osborne revealed that he would have come out as a gay man sooner if he knew what a positive reaction his friends and fans would have and encouraged other people who may be struggling with their identity to do the same.
The singer, who makes up half of the prominent country duo The Brothers Osborne, publicly discussed being gay for the first time in an interview with Time earlier this month, noting that he has been out to close friends and family for a while, but finally decided to be as open and honest with his fans as possible.
He appeared alongside his brother, John, on “CBS This Morning” Friday where he discussed the anxiety he had about coming out and the positive reception he’s experienced since officially doing so.
T.J. Osborne discussed coming out as a gay man in country music. (Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA)
“It’s been amazing honestly and I would say just to encourage anyone else out there who is dealing with the same thing… It’s a hard thing to describe, and it’s a very difficult thing to go through,” the singer explained. “Once I finally came out, I didn’t really understand the magnitude of how much people cared about me and loved me and supported me and honestly had I known that the whole time, I would have done it probably a long time ago and saved myself a lot of the strife.”
He added: “So anyone out there, if you’re dealing with that, there’s people that love you and people that support you, lots of them, so feel encouraged by that.”
The singer went on to note that, being a public figure, he believes he had an easier time coming out as gay than most people. While his close friends and family knew about his sexual orientation for a while, letting the public know felt like something that would always come “out of the blue.”
“Honestly for straight people out there, coming out is really awkward. It’s an awkward thing to talk about. It’s out of the blue and it’s a really odd thing to bring up. I work in the entertainment business so I like a lot of attention but not that kind,” he said. “That type of attention is weird, it’s just uncomfortable. To be able to do that and do it in that moment, in kind of one fell swoop, it was nice. I think for a lot of people, they don’t come out because, for me it’s like ‘when do you do it? When do you say it?” for me it was that moment of just taking a leap of faith.”
“I expected a wave of love from family and friends. I did not expect it to feel the way it felt,” he told the host. “I think it’s one thing when you just know and assume people love you, and it’s different when you hear it and when you hear it with sincerity.”
Later in the interview, he added: “Right now, I feel so incredibly loved and it’s one of those things where I’m like, ‘God, I wish I could shared this love with other people.’ And then to have people that I never even expected to say anything, reaching out to me. People that I feel like personify masculinity and the straight culture to the nth degree, coming out with a lot of pride for me. That was really the moment to me that made me feel like, ‘Wow, that was there the whole time.'”
The delay in testing — which came about a week after they were exposed — was due to the “severe winter weather in Tennessee.”
Country star Trisha Yearwood (left) has tested positive for coronavirus while her husband, Garth Brooks (right) tested negative. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/WireImage)
“Anyone who knows me knows my world begins and ends with Miss Yearwood, so she and I will ride through this together,” the star shared, adding that he would not be participating in his Inside Studio G series on Facebook for a time.
“And anyone who knows [Yearwood] knows she’s a fighter and she’s been doing everything right, so I know we’ll walk out the other side of this thing together,” Brooks said.
Yearwood is “dealing with symptoms,” said the release, but is “doing okay.”
“She’s tough. She’s stronger than me,” Garth assured fans, welcoming prayers and positive thoughts.
He concluded: “Living with her, I sometimes take it for granted she’s one of the greatest voices in all of music, so the possible long-term effects on her concern me as her husband and as a fan. We’re very lucky she is currently under the greatest care in the best city for treating and healing singers.”
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood were exposed to coronavirus earlier this month and weren’t able to get tested right away because of the winter weather. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
“Due to someone on their team testing positive for Covid-19 and out of an abundance of caution, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood are canceling everything and testing and quarantining for two weeks,” they said at the time.
Taylor Swift’s lawyers have said “It’s on,” effectively, to a Utah theme attraction, Evermore Park, that sued Swift earlier in February, alleging that her “Evermore” album infringed on its trademarks. Possibly not entirely coincidentally, Swift’s company TAS Rights Management has now sued Evermore Park in return, contending that the attraction has long had its costumed performers singing hits by Swift and others without a license, despite demands made in the past by the performing rights organization BMI.
The fresh lawsuit was filed Feb. 22 with the U.S. District Court in the middle district of Tennessee, Swift’s home state, by TAS. Evermore Park’s suit against Swift had been submitted on Feb. 2 in the U.S. District Court’s central division in Utah.
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The two filings, both examined by Variety, tackle entirely separate issues of trademark infringement and rights violations, though the new one filed by Swift’s attorneys does make a passing mention of Evermore Park’s action. Ostensibly unrelated as the two complaints are, the message may be clear: What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, to put it in legalese.
Deep into the Swift lawsuit, it’s asserted that her attorneys were contacted on Feb. 3 — the day after the Evermore Park suit was filed — by “a former Evermore Park volunteer and frequent patron of Evermore Park, advising of the unlicensed public performance of Artist’s music. Information was provided by this individual proving Defendants’ infringement of the copyrighted works.”
Given the immediate juxtaposition of those two dates, it would seem that Evermore may have had a Swiftie in its ranks who didn’t take kindly to the Utah attraction sending its legal dogs after the pop superstar and turned over evidence that the park was using her copyrighted material.
According to the Swift camp’s suit, though, this was not the first time that unlicensed usage of pop songs at the park had come to the attention of BMI’s Nashville office. The filing says that in August 2019 and again about a month later — well before the 2020 “Evermore” album was a twinkle in Swift’s eye — BMI Nashville sent letters to Evermore Park “following up on a number of prior contact attempts, alerting them once again of their unauthorized performance of the Works and their legal obligation to obtain licenses for the public performance of the Works.”
A footnote says that park employees who “play songs upon request” are known to have performed the works of artists including Katy Perry, the Beatles, Britney Spears, Nirvana, Billy Joel, Britney Spears, Green Day, Whitney Houston, Journey, Semisonic, Tom Petty, Queen, Weezer, and others in addition to the Swift songs “Love Story,” “You Belong With Me” and “Bad Blood.”
The suit says that despite BMI inundating Evermore Park with “phone calls, emails, letters, and draft license agreements,” the Utah attraction “ignored these messages” and continued using the songs without a license or payment, “with full knowledge of their infringement, to drive attention and attendance” to the park. It goes on to contend that once Evermore Park got wind that Swift might sue, the owners “recently reached out to BMI’s Nashville, Tennessee office multiple times, suddenly requesting a retroactive license… Indeed, Defendants initiated contact only after recent events made this action imminent.”
The Swift camp’s suit notes that the infringing performances take place at a section of the park called “the Burrows” where two actors sing to large crowds in what are billed as “musical character performances.”
Meanwhile, the lawsuit filed by Evermore Park earlier in the month against Swift, TAS Rights Management and Taylor Nation alleges trademark violations that began when the singer announced the release of her “Evermore” album in December and put up a merchandise line to go with it.
Evermore Park — which owns the evermore.com domain name, and notes that it paid $300,000 for the privilege — says that when Swift suddenly announced the imminent release of her album on Dec. 10, “web traffic on Evermore Park’s website… spiked 330.4% in comparison to traffic on the previous day.” The jump was from 1,668 visitors the day before to 7,179 on the 10th, at a time when the park was closed down, as it has been for months, as a result of the pandemic.
That increased traffic is a good thing, right? That’s what the Evermore Park lawsuit contends Swift’s attorneys tried to tell the park in conversations prior to the filing. They say that after sending a cease-and-desist letter on Dec. 29 telling Swift’s lawyers to discontinue any use of the title “Evermore,” the star’s attorneys wrote back saying, “[i]f anything, your client’s website traffic has actually increased as a result of the release of Ms. Swift’s recent album which, in turn could only serve to enhance your client’s mark.”
The Evermore Park camp’s response to that in its lawsuit is to attach a screenshot of Google search results from Jan. 31 of this year in which a search on the word “evermore” produces only one result for the theme park, one for a Wikipedia disambiguation page that includes information about a variety of names and titles that include the word, and the remainder all referring to Swift’s new album.
Evermore Park’s suit details plenty of other beefs the company has with Swift, all the way down to how she has used the words “escapism” and “epic” in describing the material on her album, words that also appear in their promotional material. It contends that the “Willow” music video, which depicts Swift inside the base of a tree, resembles tree trunk imagery in a pair of park soundtrack albums that are for sale on iTunes. The suit also alleges that Swift’s “ornamental cloth patches, three-dimensional plastic ornaments, purses, all-purpose carrying bags, key wallets and key pouches” resemble their own souvenirs.
In the part of the Evermore Park that would undoubtedly be most comical to many Swift fans, the company complaints about the star’s allegedly image-damaging “use of explicit lyrics and marketing of goods using vulgar terms,” specifically singling out an item known as “the ‘fancy shit’ mug” (named after a lyrical aside in the song “Tolerate It”).
The Evermore Park suit asks a jury to reward “not more than $2,000 per counterfeit mark,” with no indication of how many trademark infringements they have in mind.
Swift’s suit also asks for a jury trial but does not set any recommended amounts. (The singer and her reps resisted any temptation to ask for $1, as they fought for on principle — and won — in a 2017 sexual assault case against a radio DJ.)
Although the suit filed by Swift’s team scarcely addresses the merits or lack thereof of the Evermore Park filing, it’s fairly easy to see from the latter what kind of counterargument could be made in court, if things get that far.
Evermore Park’s lawyers bring up a point that was apparently made in prior communications between the camps, that any trademark on the word “evermore” is a “weak” one on the scale of registered terms. “Defendants’ arguments that the EVERMORE Trademark is weak is both self-serving and inadequate under established precedent,” say the Utah attorneys.
A look at the Wikipedia disambiguation page cited elsewhere in Evermore Park’s lawsuit shows that the word “evermore” has been used a fair amount in popular culture, and not just in the pre-pop writings of Edgar Allen Poe, whose talking raven may still be the primary go-to most people associate with the word, Swift’s hit album notwithstanding.
The Wikipedia page for the term includes three books titled “Evermore” (one of which was on a 2009 New York Times bestsellers list for children’s literature), one band by that name from New Zealand, five albums that have the word as a partial or complete title (including Swift’s), and six songs of which the same is true. The “Evermore” song catalog includes numbers by that name by artists from W.A.S.P. to Hillsong Church, plus an “Evermore” that was included on the 2017 “Beauty and the Beast” soundtrack and, of course, Led Zeppelin’s 1971 “The Battle of Evermore,” a “Lord of the Rings” homage that somehow did not earn the oft-sued band a complaint from the J.R.R. Tolkien estate.
Evermore Park’s suit preemptively denies what it says is Swifts’ attorneys’ contention that the initial suit was filed out of financial woes from being closed during the pandemic. The ambitious, ride-less park, which opened in 2017 with a cited investment of $37 million, was enthusiastically described by the Los Angeles Times in a 2018 article as a renaissance fair-like, interactive-fantasy attraction with a touch of “Westworld” that could “forever change how we view theme parks.”