One of the breakout stars of Mathis Family Matters was Judge Mathis’ oldest son, Greg Mathis Jr., who would go on to come out as a gay man in the series.
Besides being one of the most famous judges on TV through his long-running series Judge Mathis, Greg Mathis was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and launched a brand-new reality series on E! called Mathis Family Matters. And yet, the topic of Greg Jr. coming out as gay came up a few times over the course of the first season.
Namely, Greg Jr. was featured on the show talking with his family members about coming out, worrying about whether or not it would impact them, and fighting back his own insecurities to disclose his sexuality in such a public manner.
“I’m fortunate that it was never about my family,” Greg Jr. explained. “My parents have known about me being gay since I was in college – freshman year of college, actually. But even with that being the case, I kept it a secret for a long time because I was afraid about what our community would think.”
“I grew up in the church, in a close-knit church community,” he continued. “I was worried about what some of our friends and family would think. But, obviously, with my dad being in the public spotlight, that even put a larger microscope on it for me. So, even though I was blessed to have that safety net of a family – which a lot of people in our situation don’t even have – it was still that pressure of knowing that once I came out to the world, that it was going to be… ‘oh my goodness.’”
To be clear, Greg Jr. wasn’t afraid of an “invisible boogeyman” that could’ve judged him or might’ve affected his family members following his coming out. He had witnessed firsthand the consequences faced by his close friend EJ Johnson – the son of Magic Johnson – after he came out in 2013. “When he came out, it was almost an attack on his entire family. I did worry about that,” Greg Jr. recalled.