Watch: T.J. Osborne's Celebratory Smooch Marks First Same-Sex Kiss at the CMAs

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday November 13, 2021
Originally published on November 12, 2021

T.J. Osborne kisses his boyfriend, Abi Ventura, on the Country Music Awards
T.J. Osborne kisses his boyfriend, Abi Ventura, on the Country Music Awards  (Source:Screencap/ABC/YouTube)

Out country music star T.J. Osborne made history when he sealed his Country Music Award win with a same-sex kiss — a celebratory snog that was seen on the air, Buzzfeed reported.

Osborne and his brother, John, won the Vocal Duo of the Year Award at the CMA ceremony, which was broadcast on ABC Nov. 10. It was the fourth win in that category for the Brothers Osborne, CNN noted, and when it was announced, T.J. promptly planted a kiss on his boyfriend, Abi Ventura, as the audience erupted in cheers.

John, meantime, "kissed his wife, Lucie Silvas," CNN detailed.

"I tell you, every time we have won this award, it has never, ever ceased to be extremely shocking," T.J. Osborne said in his acceptance speech.

"It's been a crazy rollercoaster of a year for us in so many ways, especially for me emotionally," Osborne went on to add. "And to have you all support me, it really does feel like love wins tonight. Thank you."

Osborne came out publicly in an interview with TIME Magazine earlier this year, one of the few Country Western stars to do so — and one of the very few male stars. He is the only out LGBTQ+ Country Western recording artist to be signed to a major label, according to Wide Open Country.

When he finally freed himself from the closet, he told Ellen DeGeneres in a subsequent appearance on her talk show, "I instantaneously felt like I wish I had done this a long time ago."

Fans seemed to agree; Osborne told Ellen he'd experienced a "wave of love," and repeated the sentiment while chatting with CBS This Morning, where he described a "tsunami of love" coming his way from the public.

But not from certain lawmakers. After the Tennessee State Senate unanimously approved a resolution to honor Osborne, a Republican State Representative derailed the effort.

Watch the sweet moment from the CMAs, and Osborne's acceptance speech, below.


Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.