Dwight Howard is putting the rumors about his sexuality to rest: “I’m not gay.”
Back in March, the NBA star was thrust into media headlines after an openly gay man claimed Howard was harassing him into signing a non-disclosure agreement. “I don’t know this person, never seen him,” Howard previously said to TMZ Sports, about the man who was identified as Masin Elije. “Any allegation said about me is false.” However, during a two-part episode of FS1’s Fair Game with Kristine Leahy, Howard opened up about the gay rumors and the allegations made against him by Elije.
“It ended up being a situation that was—it went viral. People were talking about it, and it upset me because I didn’t even know who the person was,” Howard said. “Why would somebody who I never met, never had any contact with, make up a whole story about me. I saw all the hate, the pure hate, from people that I’ve never met before, just pile up everywhere I went.”
The story initially broke via Twitter after Elije posted that he and Howard were in a romantic relationship. But it ended when Elije claimed Howard began cheating on him with other men. Once the relationship was done, Elije alleged that Howard and the NBA player’s pastor Calvin Simmons tried to force him into taking “hush money” and signing an NDA. This led to Elije filing a lawsuit against Howard in March.
However, Howard maintains that he has never met the man. While the rumors have caused drama in his life, Howard says he’s finally found peace from the situation.
“I went through a situation last year that kind of, um, just, it really just set me free,” Howard described. “I think that liberated me because I saw how a lot of people would feel, whether they’re gay or they’re straight, or whether they have issues, people are afraid to be who they are,” he continued. “They’re afraid to just step out and be like you said, because they’re afraid of what other people might say or think about them. And so that situation made me realize, you not like this, but just be you, be free.”
“I’m not gay,” Howard stated. “It’s a lot of people who are, and they have to hide, and there’s people who have mental issues, and they have to hide. There’s people who have different problems in life, and they have to hide. They have to put on the mask every day, and it’s like, I don’t wanna wear no mask, I just wanna be.”
“I’m not gay… It hurt at first to go through it. I sat at home and I was like ‘I never want to come outside again.'” @DwightHoward spoke on the allegations that he was gay.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) July 16, 2019