John Gidding talked about coming out gay in a new interview with Metro Weekly.

The 42-year-old model turned designer married ballet dancer Damian Smith in 2013. Gidding will appear in the upcoming season of TLC's Trading Spaces.

Gidding earned degrees from both Yale and Harvard but grew up in Turkey until he was 15. He told Metro Weekly that he knew he was gay in “early childhood” but stayed closeted until graduate school.

“I was a late bloomer in that regard partially because of my cultural background and my family being more conservative, and [me] wanting to play a certain role specifically for them more than myself,” Gidding said. “I think that a lot of growing up gay in Turkey has to do with trying to reconcile how you’re gonna fit your life in with how your family wants you to live your life. But eventually I was able to break out of that. It took five years of being in the states for me to do it, but I got there.”

“Grad school is when I came out to the world,” he continued. “I think the whole concept of pride had finally sunk in. When it dawned on me that I was gonna come out, I did it to everyone very quickly – within a few weeks everybody knew. We didn’t talk, my mom and I, for about a year afterwards. And then 9/11 happened. Nothing like a traumatic event to make you realize what’s important in life. My mom and I actually started talking on 9/11 because one of the planes had taken off from Boston, and that’s where I had been at the time. 'Okay, let’s put this petty stuff aside and reconnect.' I wouldn’t say that my mom has fully come around, but she’s gotten much better.”

“My dad took it very well. He had already written out a little piece of paper in his pocket. It was waiting. So when I told him I was gay he pulled it out of his pocket and quietly handed it over to me. This was at a time when The Lion King was very popular. And it just said, 'Hakuna matata,'” he added, referring to the Swahili phrase popularized by the Disney film which translates to “no worries.”