Leslie Jordan, 67, died in a car crash on 24th October 2022. Reports state that Jordan suffered a medical emergency, but it’s unclear whether the emergency happened before or after the collision. The news of Jordan’s sudden passing shocked the world, sending millions of adoring fans into mourning.
Jordan’s agent, David Shaul, confirmed the star’s death: “The world is definitely a much darker place today without the love and light of Leslie Jordan. Not only was he a mega talent and joy to work with, but he provided an emotional sanctuary to the nation at one of its most difficult times.”
Leslie Jordan wasn’t married, but he was in a relationship
Leslie Jordan was fairly secretive about his love life, opening up about his experiences with different partners but concealing their identities.
In a February 2022 interview with Pride Source, Leslie said that his boyfriend was helping him become more receptive to compliments. “My boyfriend constantly says to me, ‘When someone compliments you, you compliment them back,’” Jordan said. “And I said, ‘No, no, I’m too busy.’ But he’ll say, ‘Own it.’ I’m working on that.’
Jordan didn’t reveal the boyfriend’s identity or post his photo on social media. The relationship started after Jordan’s 2021 interview with Andy Cohen, in which he stated he was content being single. Leslie also revealed he’d never been on a date:
“I have never been on a date. Like, where you come pick me up and take me somewhere. My generation, we didn’t do that. There were a lot of bars. You headed out, you went here, and you went there. But, I don’t remember ever going on a date.”
Leslie never married, but he came close in 2017 when a lover with a liking for silver-headed men proposed to him. Jordan accepted the proposal, but the wedding didn’t happen. He told Gay Times magazine:
“He flew to LA three days before I left for London. After three days he asked me to marry him, and I will. I told him, ‘I’m gonna go to London for 30 days and let’s see what happens when I get back.’”
The couple didn’t marry, but Leslie treasured the bond he had with this partner. “It was this connection,” Jordan said. “We tried to have sex about 10 times but we couldn’t because we’d keep talking.”
In late October 2021, Jordan jokingly proposed to Max Greenfield, who’s straight and married to casting director Tess Sanchez. Jordan wrote on Instagram: “I jokingly asked @iammaxgreenfield to marry me and he said, ‘I am straight and already married.’ But, he didn’t say no. On second thought, I don’t want to be a home-wrecker.”
Jordan came out as gay as a young man but struggled to embrace his sexuality
Leslie Jordan had a Southern Baptist upbringing that didn’t tolerate homosexuality. Before Jordan came out, his father noted the boy had effeminate qualities, so he sent him to an all-boys summer camp one year. Jordan’s father died in a plane crash when he was 11.
A year later, Jordan came out to his mother. “I told my mother I thought something was up. I didn’t even know the word ‘gay,’” Leslie told People. Jordan said he expected his mother to admonish him, but she didn’t:
“She didn’t pull her Bible out, which I thought she would. She said, ‘I’m just really afraid that if you choose this path, you’ll be ridiculed. Just live your life quietly.’ I didn’t follow her advice on that one.”
The therapists and psychiatrists Jordan saw weren’t quite so tolerant, telling him that his urges were ‘the voice of the Prince of Darkness.’ Jordan turned to alcohol and drugs to cope with the reality of his sexuality.
In 1982, Jordan moved from Chattanooga to Hollywood, a place that also shunned homosexuality. His sole relief was that he had a gay agent. Leslie rarely turned down roles, except for some that were downright bizarre. He told The Guardian:
“Sometimes, I get offered things and I don’t pay attention. My agent called me and said there’d been some other ones and they’d been popular in the gay community, so I said I’d do it. Then I saw it and it’s basically porn.”
Jordan faced many challenges as he tried to establish an acting career in Hollywood as a gay man. Leslie overcame those obstacles and did it while sober: he got clean in the late 90s. “All of a sudden I was 42, and all my medicine was taken away,” he told The New York Times.
Leslie told his story in a play titled Exposed. He talked to Instinct Magazine about the production: “It’s me. I wrote it. It’s about me. Exposed is probably the closest to telling the true story of me. It’s a story of a gay man in Hollywood. And this is not just MY story, it’s OUR story.”