Let’s Make A Deal host Wayne Brady, 51, has come out as pansexual via in an exclusive interview with People magazine. To drive home the point, he also posted what is already being hailed as an iconic TikTok video.
“I am pansexual,” he told People, adding with a chuckle, “Bisexual — with an open mind!”
Brady spoke to People from his home in Malibu. His daughter Maile, 20, and ex-wife Mandie Taketa, 47, were on hand to show support. Brady says Taketa was the first person he came out to.
“I just said, ‘Great.’ As I knew coming out would help him be happier,” Taketa said.
Brady has been married twice. His first marriage, to Diana Lasso, was from 1993-1995. He married dancer Taketa in 1999. They divorced in 2007.
Taketa now has a new partner, Jason Fordham. They have a son, born in 2021, and consider Brady a co-parent. They are now filming a Hulu series about their blended family.
On defining himself as pansexual, Brady said, “In doing my research, both with myself and just with the world, I couldn’t say if I was bisexual, because I had to really see what that was, especially because I really have not gotten a chance to act on anything.”
“So, I came to pansexual because — and I know that I’m completely messing up the dictionary meaning — but to me, pan means being able to be attracted to anyone who identifies as gay, straight, bi, transsexual or non-binary,” Brady added. “Being able to be attracted across the board. And, I think, at least for me for right now, that is the proper place.”
Caring what others think of him
Brady said he was shy when younger and experienced bullying. He was raised in Orlando, Florida. He had a stutter for a while. Learning to perform in front of audiences helped him to emerge from his shell. However, he also cared deeply about what people thought about him.
“I love bringing joy, which is why I love being a character: if I can do that as a character, so maybe the character is Wayne Brady,” Brady said. “There’s a lot of therapy that I’m doing right now. I wish I didn’t care what people think of me, but the fact of the matter is, I do care. It’s a weird dichotomy, going from a screaming audience to sitting in a house, just chilling all by yourself.”
Brady says that Robin Williams’s death in 2014 (the legendary comic died by suicide) impacted him hard. He realized he needed to address his own mental health and the things he’d been suppressing.
“I did all the therapy I could do. I was treated for love addiction. It’s a part of my journey. I had to start examining why I was looking for myself and happiness in a slew of people,” Brady said. “If I marry this person, then everything will be fine. If I date this person, everything will be fine. In doing that work, I now know absolutely that love addiction is borne of trauma. I can’t feel any shame around that, just like I wouldn’t shame somebody if they said they were addicted to meth or cocaine.”
“The best Wayne Brady that everybody wants”
Brady says he has been attracted to men at various points in his life but has never dated a man.
“I’ve always pushed that aside because of how I was raised,” Brady said
He ended by saying he’s looking forward to being, “the best Wayne Brady that everybody wants and expects. I can be the best dad that Maile needs. I can be the best friend to Mandie, the best son to my mother, and one day, the best partner to someone, because I’m doing this for me.”
In a TikTok video posted to coincide with the magazine article, Brady mimed to Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” while rainbow flags and confetti flutter around him.
“As someone who gets to bring joy to others daily on TV, it’s been ironic that I don’t experience it as much as I’d like,” Brady said in the accompanying caption. “I advocate mental health for all and a part of that is self-transparency. In doing my work, I’ve come to see a few truths, one of them being that I want to be free to love whomever I want. This truth makes me Pan and part of the LGBTQ+ family. It’s scary as hell to say out loud but here it is.
With his family behind him, Brady is free to explore more of his identity and his newfound LGBTQ+ community.
“The people I admire the most are the ones brave enough to be themselves unapologetically. This shouldn’t shake anyone’s world, but if it bothers you at all, that’s your business:) I was so afraid of having my manhood questioned but screw that,” Brady continued in the caption. “A ‘real man’ in my eyes, isn’t afraid to be honest and happy. From now on, I’ll be over here living my best life! I love you @Mandietaketa @Maile Masako @Jason.”
Mo’Nique went on to clarify her sexuality, saying that she is somewhere in the middle between straight and gay.