The Coming-Out Story Moves Off the Front Page

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This week People magazine released its latest, much-anticipated coming-out story, this time from country-music artist Chely Wright. There'd been a drumroll of rumors leading up to the piece, followed by some disappointment that it wasn't about someone more famous.

Wright might not be a Top 40 music star, but she's had some serious hits on the country charts, where being gay is more controversial. As she said on the Today show this morning, "There had never been an openly gay country music artist … Our fan base is conservative … It's widely known to be about God and country and family, and for some reason people think that can't co-exist with being a homosexual." But the relatively small impact of the story — she even lost the cover spot to recovering rocker Bret Michaels — suggests that coming-out stories are becoming less seismic pop-culture events.

There was once a time when the very act of a star coming out — even if lots of people knew they were gay already — was a huge story. Only a decade ago, Ellen DeGeneres made the cover of Time magazine when she came out. Last month, Ricky Martin came out to collective shrugs. Click through the slideshow to see how we got here.