Brothers Osborne Talk Being "Lucky," Supporting Each Other And Their Willingness to Sacrifice Their Career for Truth
Brothers Osborne share the spotlight now, and it's the most natural thing in the world to John and T.J. Osborne, who have shared most things their entire lives.
The men chatted with Southern Living's Biscuits & Jam podcast about their careers, childhood in Deale, Maryland, T.J.'s experience as one of the only openly gay artists in country music and their unwavering support of each other.
"We always were just really close and doing things together," T.J. said. "We had to share a bedroom all the way up until John took off to college. And then, I moved down to Nashville, and we still shared a bedroom then."
Now they sleep in bunkbeds on the tour bus they share. While it's a tight space, T.J. said the brothers had to learn to get along decades ago.
"I think when you share a bedroom with each other, you have to get through (your problems) really, really fast," he explained.
The pandemic presented a problem for the men - and the rest of the world- that they had never faced. The duo was forced off the road for months, which led T.J. to reevaluate what is important to him, and forced him to take a closer look at himself.
"I was really diving into myself and being happy with myself and liking myself and being proud of who I am," he said. "And I did have that with my family and friends. I mean, they all knew (I was gay). But I didn't have that with my public life and my relationship with my fans, and I did feel like that was ultimately affecting my mental health."
When T.J. chose to come out in early 2021, it was a conscious step toward him being happy. Then he considered the most impactful way to tell his story so his openness would help other people.
"(I was) very cognizant of the fact that we've all seen examples where people try to be pretty opportunistic with such things," he said. "And I didn't want that at all…There were a lot of factors that went into it, but I will say since doing it and being where I am now, everyone that does it says they wish they had done it earlier, you know? And I certainly feel that way …. luckily, I was in a very fortunate position to have lots of people around me that supported me."
John said he never questioned supporting his brother, even if it meant the demise of their career.
"I had come to terms with the idea, long before he decided to come out, that if he did come out one day and it ruined our entire career, it stopped it right there dead in its tracks, I wouldn't care," he said. "I would not lose sleep over that because it's not nearly as important as his happiness."
More than two years - and a slew of awards later - the men still look at their music as a hobby. They couldn't be more thankful they were able to turn it into their careers.
"It's just we're lucky that we get to pay our bills with it now," John said. "I was playing the guitar this morning and it was just as fun as it was when I was doing it in my room as a teenager. It's just something that you love to do. And sometimes you blur the lines between what a hobby is, what a job is. And it can get convoluted and tricky, but overall, we're very lucky that we get to do that."