As 2014 winds to a close, we take a look at the biggest coming out stories of the year.

2014 was the year the NFL got its first openly gay player: Michael Sam.

The 24-year-old Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams but was cut before the start of the regular season. He is currently a free agent.

On Saturday, OWN broadcast a documentary on Sam and a one-on-one interview with the player.

Sam revealed to Oprah Winfrey that he's heard from other gay players in the NFL. He also said that coming out was the right thing to do.

Another first came in country music, where Ty Herndon came out to become the first openly gay male country music artist and only the second after Chely Wright. Another artist, Billy Gilman, followed Herndon's lead later in the same day.

Apple CEO Tim Cook ended rumors about his sexuality in October, when he wrote an op-ed in which he said that being gay was “among the greatest gifts God has given me.” The announcement made Cook the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Ellen Page, the actress best known for her role in the film Juno, came out in a Valentine's Day speech delivered at an LGBT youth conference in Las Vegas.

“The reaction [to coming out has] been really beautiful and I think it’s been so beautiful because, to me, it’s so indicative of the change that’s happened and how society has evolved,” Page said during an appearance to promote her most recent film, X-Men: Days of Future Past.

“And I couldn’t be more grateful for just the support I’ve had. And quite frankly for me, it was just pretty immediate. And I felt like all this toxicity and worry and baggage that I was carrying, just sort of vanished. I don’t think I could even have anticipated how happy I feel,” she added.

Singer Sam Smith has played down his coming out, telling Ellen DeGeneres that he's been out since he was 4.

“My mum said she knew when I was like 3, so I didn't actually have to properly come out,” Sam said.

“So you waited a year to tell her?” DeGeneres asked.

Ian Thorpe's coming out also made waves in 2014. After years of denials, Thorpe, Australia's most decorated Olympian, acknowledged he's gay in July, saying he lied because he “didn't know if Australia wanted its champion to be gay.”

(Related: Ian Thorpe comes out gay: “I'm not straight”)

YouTube celebrity Connor Franta, 22, told his nearly 4 million subscribers that he's gay in a video simply titled Coming Out.

“You are who you are and you should love that person,” Franta said in the video.

Actor Daniel Franzese appears to have taken that advice to heart, appearing in numerous gay-themed videos since his coming out in April. Franzese, who is best known for playing Damian in the film Mean Girls, has joined the cast of HBO's gay drama Looking, which returns for its second season on January 11.

“It's like I finally feel comfortable to tell the kind of jokes and comedy I have been holding in for so long. It's pure freedom and a blessing people are picking up on it,” Franzese told Logan Lynn in discussing his part in a spoof of Sam Smith's hit single Stay With Me.

(Related: Daniel Franzese, Adrian Anchondo star in Sam Smith spoof.)