Joel Grey photographed in Beverly Hills, Calif., on May 5, 2010.
Chris Pizzello/AP

Broadway legend comes out at 82: ‘I’m a gay man’

Updated

At the age of 82, Broadway legend Joel Grey for the first time publicly stated that he is a gay man.

Grey, who was married for 24 years and raised two children with actress Jo Wilder, is known for his Oscar Award-winning part in “Cabaret.” For the first time, he publicly revealed that he is gay during an interview for the latest issue of People Magazine.

“I don’t like labels, but if you have to put a label on it, I’m a gay man,” he said. “All the people close to me have known for years who I am.”

RELATED: States kick off legislative session with anti-LGBT moves

Grey said it took many years for him to embrace his sexuality, citing the conversations he heard as a child living in Cleveland, Ohio. He said he heard adults mention men going to jail for “being who they are.”

The entertainer was married to Wilder for more than two decades, a period he told People was “the happiest of my life.” The couple had two children: daughter Jennifer Grey of “Dirty Dancing,” and a son, James, who is a chef. Their daughter said she is happy her father felt safe and comfortable to declare himself a gay man. 

PHOTOS: LGBT equality take a massive step forward

Grey won both Oscar and Tony awards for his iconic role as the Master of Ceremonies in the musical.

In the United States, support for marriage equality has grown steadily since 2000, when Americans opposed gay marriage by a 57% to 35% margin. A Pew Research Center poll revealed that a majority of residents now said they favored marriage equality.

Last week, a federal judge in Alabama struck down a ban on same-sex marriage, which brought the number of states that allow gay couples to wed to 37. The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month agreed to take up the gay-marriage issue in April, with a decision due by late June.

Gay Rights and Marriage Equality

Broadway legend comes out at 82: ‘I’m a gay man’

Updated