Brothers Osborne Candidly Talk Suicidal Thoughts, Coming Out and Supporting Each Other

T.J. Osborne says his brother John knew he was gay when he saw his internet history.

Brothers Osborne’s John Osborne wanted to kill himself. He told Storme Warren for the latest episode of SiriusXM’s Exit 209 with Storme Warren Podcast that, in full and unfiltered honesty, when he hid his mental health struggles most is when he “literally wanted to kill myself.”

“I think it’s a very important thing for anyone going through it … one of the most important things you can do is talk about it,” Osborne said. “That’s probably the single most important thing.”

John and T.J. Osborne, who came out as gay, said they until they shared their stories, they had no idea how many people were dealing with similar problems.

“A lot of times, until recently, you couldn’t really talk about mental health,” T.J. Osborne said. “But when John was going through his thing, it really opened my eyes in the craziest way because all these people were coming up to me and telling me that either they had been through something similar or someone very close to them had.”

T.J. said it was people he knew and that until they came forward, he had no idea they were struggling. He wished everyone felt comfortable sharing their mental health hurdles because feeling alone is a great driver of instability.

“You feel crazy and that no one will understand,” T.J. said. “It was very eye-opening to me to see that, and I will say we’re at this place now with John having had that experience that, as he’s mentioning he’s happier now, he obviously has a lot of tools to help him, but we just were like, ’Okay, we need to change how we do this.'”

At the time, T.J. said the duo was on top of its game, winning awards, playing large venues and having success. But, the brothers were still running their business as if they were in a 12-passenger van about to go broke.

“We just still felt like it’s going to end next week, and now we run it a lot differently,” T.J. said. “It’s like the classic saying, work smarter not harder. We’re finally at a place where I think because it still beats you up, but we’re trying to get to where we can take care of ourselves along the way.”

John wasn’t the only one in the spotlight during the conversation. T.J. also shared a bit more about his process of coming out – including how John found out he was gay.

“I knew that I wanted to (come out) … right when we got offered a record deal,” T.J. said. “I remember sitting down with John, and I just kind of thought he probably had a pretty strong clue.”

“As his older brother, you just kind of know, but it’s not my place to ask,” John added.

“When you saw my internet history, you kind of knew,” T.J. quipped.

“Yeah, I was like, ’Wow, interesting,'” John said.

“If you could see me now, I’m blushing actually,” T.J. said. “I made myself blush there.”

T.J. met John at Bosco’s in Hillsborough Village and told him that before they signed the record deal, he wanted John to know that he was gay and that he wanted to come out at some point in their career. He didn’t want to live his life closeted. Coming out took longer than T.J. intended, but he wanted to do it at the height of the duo’s career. Then he realized he couldn’t know when that was.

“I didn’t want it to seem like it was trying to be opportunistic or trying to get headlines to get attention,” he said. “I just kind of just did my thing and so John was always obviously incredibly supportive of that. And then I think for us to get to a place where we finally would have some success and once again … I was like ’I want to get there with this honesty being apart of everyone knowing that’s who I am.'”

John calls himself a “softy” and said he wanted to make people laugh with his reaction.

“Of course, to break awkward tension, I just remember saying, ’Well, you don’t have to worry, T.J., because the other member in your band is a raging heterosexual, so I’m here to balance you out.’ After that, then we just had drinks, and I felt so much happiness and joy for him, and it was a beautiful, beautiful night.”